Monrovia – For years, Liberian have been bearing witness to the mining, logging, and agribusiness interests that have constantly destroyed the country’s natural resources, which include a swath of tropical rainforest that is among the most biodiverse places on the planet.
These incautious human activities have not just benefited a few elites in the impoverish West Africa State, but have also cased loss of habitat, Increased Greenhouse Gases, Soil Erosion and Flooding and Destruction of Homelands mainly due to deforestation.
Monrovia City Corporation, the largest municipal authority in Liberia has taken initial step to safe the county from the paybacks of massive deforestation, beginning with Tubman Boulevard which has dozens of new occupants that are poised to remain in public view for many years. Coconut tree they are.
Boxed in transparent, wooden stair cages, the Monrovia City Corporation has planting 10,000 trees along the famous Tubman Boulevard for the first time in many years.
The burst of tree planting is part of a wider replantation campaign named “Keep Monrovia Clean and Green,” spearheaded by the city Mayor Jefferson Koijee. Thousands of Liberians across the country were invited to take part in the challenge.
MCC has not released a statement on the tree initiative but several senior staff of the institution on Munday October 7, 2019 took to various radio stations in the Capital Monrovia to explain the importance of the initiative
“Whether you plant trees around your home and property, in your community, or in our national forests, they help fight climate change. Through the natural process of photosynthesis, trees absorb CO2 and other pollutant particulates, then store the carbon and emit pure oxygen” Jerome Danguah, MCC’s Assistant Northern Solid Waste Manager to talk show host on Prime FM.
He said the city government is engaged with the progress top mitigate the impact of climate change but was shock to note that angry protesters would uproot the trees for “no substantive reason”.
Planting trees in cities, Danbuah intoned “can result in cooler temperatures and reduced air pollution for millions of urban residents”, as he urged citizens to help protect the trees being planted the trees.
Citizens skeptical of MCC New Tree Plant Project
For years how the Monrovia City Corporation has been grappling with solid waste management. The streets of Monrovia are often filled with stockpile of garbage, making citizens to have little or trust in the ability of the MCC to manage the biggest city in the country.
Consequently, the emergence of the planting of 10,000 coconut many who live in the Tubman Boulevard area have already begun expressing concern abou how the city government intends to manage, sustain and protect the trees in the face of real-time financial constraints in a deeply troubled economy.
Many have even raised concerns over the “irregular, makeshift pattern” in which the trees are being planted along the Tubman Boulevard.
Monie Captan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and current head of Liberia’s Millennium Challenge Compact posted described planting the trees as “misguided”.
“While it is commendable to beautify Tubman Blvd, Monrovia City with the planting of Palm Trees, it is misguided to place them under electricity lines”, he posted on Facebook.
The Monrovia City Corporation has not responded to these claims.
Liberia, a costal county country is also suffering from the effects of climate crisis, with land degradation, soil erosion, deforestation, and recurrent increase in heat and flooding exacerbated by uncontrolled human aggressions against the environment.
While more than sixty percent of Liberia’s population uses the shifting cultivation substance agriculture as a livelihood, this is significantly resulted to the destruction of the country’s rich rainforest and biodiversity. Increased human activities have also rendered Liberia’s coastal belt vulnerable to massive sea erosion in coastal city of Buchanan, and even in part of Monrovia like Slum Community of West Point, New Kru Town others.
Not much has been seen from Liberia’s environmental Protection Agency which is underfunded and lack the capacity to implement programs that can advert climate change and global warming.
But in response to the MCC tree plant project, the Deputy Executive Director of the EPA Randolph Dougbayou, hailed the initiative as “a step towards the reduction of our carbon footprint and a fight against greenhouse gas emission”.
“Today Liberia is doing the same by planting 10,000 trees through the Monrovia City corporation! This is community-based adaption, a great step towards the reduction of our carbon footprint and a fight against greenhouse gas emission! Congratulations MCC”, posted Randolph Dougbayou.
At current, Ethiopia leads the way for planting more than 353 million trees in 12 hours on Monday July 29, 2019, which officials believe is a world record with a national tree planting campaign aimed at planting four billion trees during “the rainy season” — between May and October 2019 — according to the country’s Minister of Innovation and Technology- Getahun Mekuria.
Getahun Mekuria said a total of 353,633,660 tree seedlings had been planted in the East African Country.
Ethiopian Families plant trees outside Addis Ababa
We are at the beginning of an era of mass extinction, scientists warn
A “biological annihilation” of wildlife in recent decades means a sixth mass extinction in Earth’s history is under way and is more severe than previously feared, according to research.
Scientists analyzed both common and rare species and found billions of regional or local populations have been lost. They blame human overpopulation, like in places like Monrovia and overconsumption for the crisis and warn that threatens the survival of human civilization, with just a short window of time in which to act.
The study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, eschews the normally sober tone of scientific papers and calls the massive loss of wildlife a “biological annihilation” that represents a “frightening assault on the foundations of human civilization”.
Prof Gerardo Ceballos, at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, who led the work, said: “The situation has become so bad it would not be ethical not to use strong language.”
Previous studies have shown species are becoming extinct at a significantly faster rate than for millions of years before, but even so extinctions remain relatively rare giving the impression of a gradual loss of biodiversity. The new work instead takes a broader view, assessing many common species which are losing populations all over the world as their ranges shrink, but remain present elsewhere.
The scientists found that a third of the thousands of species losing populations are not currently considered endangered and that up to 50% of all individual animals have been lost in recent decades. Detailed data is available for land mammals, and almost half of these have lost 80% of their range in the last century. The scientists found billions of populations of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians have been lost all over the planet, leading them to say a sixth mass extinction has already progressed further than was thought.
Why Plant Trees?
Liberia has faced unprecedented embarrassment as a result of the infamous Private Use Permit (PUP) saga or the granting of certain rights to companies to for logging. The introduction of Private Use Permit has seen a substantial amount of the country’s precious forests given out illegally to logging companies by top government officials and community leaders, is on the verge of resurfacing if government goes ahead with its plan to award logging rights to certain concessions, an environmental group recently warned.
The Sustainable Development Institute (SDI), a global environmental watchdog, says the PUP scandal might just be a tip of the iceberg in relation to the damage caused to the country’s forests if government does not reconsider its decision to safe itself from the anger of climate change and global warming further that the country’s forests are under renewed threats from what it termed as Conversion Timber/Logging. Liberia’s forests and wildlife are clearly under threat.
But of late, several top NGOs have been working to preserve the country’s rainforest, biodiversity and species. For example, Conservation International has entered into an agreement with the people of Zodua Clan to help preserve a large portion of forest in Grand Cape Mount County. This agreement, the townsmen and women are barred from hunting bush meat in exchange for cash and other pottery farming activities.
A recent study estimated that restoring the world’s lost forests could remove two thirds of all the planet-warming carbon that is in the atmosphere because of human activity has further fueled the need for increased tree planting.
The study, carried out by researchers at Swiss university ETH Zurich, calculated that restoring degraded forests all over the world could capture about 205 billion tons of carbon in total. Global carbon emissions are around 10 billion tons per year.
The study indicates that a global investment of $3.2 billion throughout 245 of the world’s largest cities — that’s about $4 per resident — could reduce pollution-related mortalities by anywhere from 2.7 to 8.7 percent, saving up to 36,000 lives every year.
This level of investment could also reduce temperatures on the hottest days of the year for millions of people, save up to 48 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity annually and avoid up to 13 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year.