The Environment Protection Agency Sierra Leone (EPASL) was established by the Environment Protection Act of 2008 as amended in 2010 to protect the environment of Sierra Leone and effectively manage its natural resources. Generally, the environment is perhaps the single most natural asset that God handed over to mankind in order to ensure a conducive existence on earth. Everything about man is dependent on the environment that we live in. For instance, we build our houses on land to provide us with shelter; we drive our cars to transport us from one place to another; we cultivate our crops to provide us with the food that we eat; we plant trees to purify the air that we breathe. In all of these, the environment is the determinant factor. It is therefore safe to say that man and the environment are inextricably linked and therefore we must not allow our actions to destroy the environment thereby jeopardizing future generations. In other words, man‟s relationship with the environment is such that either needs the protection of the other without which the world would be unsafe for habitation. Like other prosperous nations of the world, Sierra Leone is endowed with immense natural wealth and beauty. Its pristine beaches, abundant rainfall, natural harbor, touristic mountains and rich biodiversity demonstrate God‟s abiding love for our country. As an Agency we have developed policies to enhance our operations in maintaining environmental protection issues in Sierra Leone. Despite all of these, the country faces immense challenges in the area of environmental protection as a result of several human factors. We believe that this awkward trend has reached an alarming proportion which must not be allowed to continue if we are to progress as a nation. Ever since, policy formulation on the environment has been favorable but implementation and compliance has been a challenge. We acknowledge the use of our natural resources in a sustainable manner but recent studies have suggested that certain activities like charcoal production, timber logging, sand mining, slash and burn agriculture, carbon emissions, waste management, mining of minerals like gold and diamond have been undertaken with little or no regard for their consequences on the environment of Sierra Leone. We suggest the need for the country to come together and adopt coping strategies to address issues of pressing environmental challenges. Man and the environment must live a symbiotic life, but in most part, man has benefited from the environment far more than he has given back. This is unacceptable. We must also be mindful that by putting the environment at risk, we are equally putting our health and security at risk. According to the 2014 World Health Organization report, air pollution in 2012 caused the deaths of around 7 million people worldwide. One way the Environment Protection Agency Sierra Leone (EPA-SL) is seeking to reverse this trend is by educating our population, particularly the young people of our great country on environmental management and protection. Environmental education is not just about learning. It is also about appreciating the environmental threats that confront our planet and changing our behaviors so we can build a sustainable world for the future. We truly believe that we will take pleasure in our environment more if we learn to value and appreciate what we have; understand the impacts of our actions and, above all, work collectively to protect it.
We must encourage all Sierra Leoneans to reflect on their behaviors that impact on the environment and make the necessary changes. It doesn’t matter if these changes are big or small – they all add up to increased protection of our precious resources as well as building a sustainable future that benefits present and future generations. The only way to develop a community of environmentally conscious and committed Sierra Leoneans who will actively seek ways to minimize their impact on the environment is through Environmental Education and Awareness. Building our nation requires a youthful population that understands its obligations to the state, which includes respect and commitment for a sustainable environment. The EPASL will continue to engage all manner of persons and provide them with the necessary support to enhance their understanding about their role in environmental management. We therefore entreat you all our partners including Civil Society, School going Children, students, religious leaders, Local Councils, traditional leaders, market women, farmers, manufacturers, drivers, academicians, media practitioners, the private sector and politicians – to join hands with the EPA-SL to promote sound environmental practices as we all strive to build our country.