Environment Minister Determined

With environmental concerns having become a global focus for national and international actions, former Chairman of the Environmental Protection Agency, now Minister of the newly created Ministry of Environment, Dr. Moriba Jaward, has expressed his determination to tackle the growing environmental problems and challenges the country is exposed to.

A highly experienced technocrat in the field of environment studies and practices, Dr. Jaward said the first thrust in addressing environmental issues in a holistic manner is to bring all the different agencies tagged to different ministries under the umbrella of the Environment Ministry. This, he said, will create synergy as well as a coordinated approach to tackling the problems associated with destruction of the environment by various factors and agencies.

Dr. Jaward said to house all the various environmental actors and players under one roof is constructing a state of the art Environmental House in Freetown that will serve as the nerve center for dealing with all environmental issues in the country

A proactive leader who believes in consultations with relevant stakeholders, Dr. Jaward since coming into office has held nationwide consultations.

In the main, Dr Jaward said what needs to be done is education, prevention and mitigation measures.

Towards this end, he said EPA, Environment and Forestry are going to have offices in all district headquarter towns.

Deforestation is happening all over the country and with various stakeholders; Dr Jaward intends to reverse the trend through concerted effort with communities.

In his tour of the Western Area, Dr Jaward laments that people have occupied nearly all the areas that are water catchment points such as the dam at FBC and Guma, which has caused water scarcity in the western area.

In protecting the forests in the western area, Dr Jaward said the Ministry in partnership with Lands is going to demarcate the Green Belt across the western area with 1.5 million trees to be planted along it. Anyone who dares go beyond the green belt will have his/her property demolished without mercy.

 In dealing with environmental issues, Dr Jaward said the bigger picture is to create jobs as a way of dealing with the bread and butter issue faced by youths. Youths will be employed to serve as forest monitors. The tree planting program will employ thousands of community youths.

Plastic waste is another serious environmental challenge Dr Jaward is determined to solve which he said will also create jobs for youths, citing Rwanda where youths earn as much as USD200 per month collecting plastics for recycling. He disclosed that very soon, there will be a plastic recycling factory in the country.

With a deputy minister that has thirty years environmental experience and his replacement at EPA who is also a seasoned environmentalist, Dr Jaward assures the nation that his ministry will be able to be on top of the country’s environmental issues.

However, being realistic, he said the changes will not come overnight, as change takes time.