With growing global environmental awareness and in pursuit of sustainable environmental management and development, the Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL) felt there was a need to create an institution that would be responsible for the protection and management of the environment.
In view of this, the Environment Protection Agency – Sierra Leone (EPA-SL) was established by an act of Parliament, the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) Act, 2008, as a body corporate to provide for the effective protection and management of the environment and other related matters.
The vision statement of the Environmental Protection Agency Sierra Leone (EPA-SL) is to contribute to poverty reduction through sound environmental management, and ensuring a clean, healthy and secure environment in achieving the millennium development goals and sustainable development in Sierra Leone.
The mandate of the Environment Protection Agency – Sierra Leone, as stated in Part Three, section 12 of the EPA Act of 2008 and amended in July 2010 is:
- To advise the President on the formulation of policies on all aspects of the environment and in particular make recommendation for the protection of the environment.
- To coordinate and monitor the implementation of national environmental policies.
- To coordinate with Government Ministries, local councils and other agencies on matters relating to environmental protection and management.
- To co-ordinate the activities of bodies concerned with the technical or practical aspects of the environment and serve as a channel of communication between such bodies and the Minister.
- To secure, in collaboration with such persons as it may determine the control and prevention of discharge of waste into the environment and the protection and improvement of the quality of the environment.
- To collaborate and coordinate with such foreign and international bodies as the Agency considers necessary for the purposes of this Act.
- To issue environmental permits and pollution abatement notices for controlling the volume, types, constituents and effects of waste discharges, emissions, deposits or other source of pollutants and of substances which are hazardous or potentially dangerous to the quality of the environment or any segment of the environment.
- To issue notices in the form of directives, procedures or warnings to such bodies as it may determine for the purpose of controlling the volume, intensity and quality of noise in the environment.
- To prescribe standards and guidelines relating to ambient air, water and soil quality, the pollution of air, water, land and other forms of environmental pollution including the discharge of wastages and the control of toxic substances.
- To ensure compliance with any laid down environmental impact assessment procedures in the planning and execution of development projects, including compliance in respect of existing projects.
- To act in liaison and co-operation with government agencies, local councils and other bodies and institutions to control pollution and generally protect the environment.
- To conduct investigations into environmental issues and advise the President thereon.
- To promote studies, research, surveys and analyses for the improvement and protection of the environment and the maintenance of a sound ecological system.
- To initiate and pursue formal and non-formal educational programmes for the creation of public awareness of the environment and its importance to the economic and social life of Sierra Leone.
- To promote effective planning in the management of the environment.
- To develop a comprehensive database on the environment.
- To impose and collect environmental protection levies in accordance with this Act or publications and other appropriate means and in cooperation with public or private organization, environmental data and information.
- To promote the establishment of national environmental standards.
- To act as the focal point on all issues concerning the environment.