Working towards Safeguarding the Communities through robust awareness raising about the dangers of wild bush fire is key to the work of the Environment Protection Agency Sierra Leone EPASL. In its quest to enhance awareness on the dangers of the uncontrolled bush burning during the dry seasons in the Rural Communities across the Country, the Agency has championed the bush fire campaign to Rural Communities across the country. This awareness raising (community engagement) already was extended to Communities that are exposed to wild bush fires caused by defaulters who sometimes live within the Communities. The intensive bush fire education was carried out in the North, South and Eastern regions of the country. For the Southern Region, more than one thousand five hundred (1,500) residents were educated about the dangers of bush fire in Moyamba and Bo Districts while in the Northern region, more than 2000 people benefited from the wild bush fire education in more than three Communities in the Bombali District. In the Eastern Region, various Communities have also benefited from the awareness raising activities of EPASL. The outreach (sensitization) included presentations of messages on the environment and wild bush burning as well as video screening in the various Communities in the three regions.
ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION AGENCY: Working towards Safeguarding Rural Communities with Bush Fire Messages
During her presentation the Deputy Director of Natural Resource Management, Mrs. Ramatu Massaquoi stressed the importance of keeping the environment safe and the effects of wild bush fires on their environments and Communities in general.
Following the presentation of various videos on wild bush fire in all the Communities, the Assistant Head of Information Education and Communication Department of the Agency, Mrs. Fatima Bakarr-Sesay also spoke about the effects of bush fire in the Communities and reiterated the efforts and mandate of the Agency to promote environmental issues in the country and ensure Communities live without environmental disasters. The issue of bylaws in the Communities was also central during the activities in the regions. While some Communities have adopted bye-laws to deter Offenders of wild bush fire in the various Communities, others do not have such bylaws.
Madam Melisa Ndure, the Senior Environment Officer of the Agency from the Natural Resource Management Department expressed the Agency’s interest in having bylaws in the various Communities. To those Communities that have these existing bylaws, Madam Ndure encouraged their local Heads to strengthen those existing bylaws and encouraged those without bylaws to formulate their own bush fire guiding rules. In all the Regions where the awareness and sensitizations meetings on wild bush fire were held, the Community people were happy to receive the information. Some of the Elders in those Villages said even though they have been using their bylaws in the various Communities, some of them have not been adhered to. In other to help the Agency with their efforts towards protecting the environment and the Communities, the elders promised to support the Agency with the implementation of these bylaws in other to help to protect their property and communities in general. In one of such Communities an elder, Philip Sei cautioned his Community Stakeholders that those in the habit of smoking cigarettes should not throw the remnant to the bush; a practice he said is one of the main contributing factors of wild bush fire in the Country. He called on parents to help control their Children against bush fire and encouraged the Chiefs to enforce the bylaws in the Communities.
Locals listen to EPASL Senior Regional Officer, Paul Dumbuya