L-R: General Manager, Lagos State Parks and Gardens Agency(LASPARK), Mrs Adetoun Popoola; Director, Service Matters, Public Service Office, Mrs Sunkanmi Oyegbola; Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr Tunji Bello; Executive Secretary, Lagos State Water Regulatory Commission (LASWARCO), Mrs Funke Adepoju; and President, Society of Testing Laboratory Analysts of Nigeria (SOLTAN), Dr. Laoye Oluwafemi Oyediran during the unveiling of LASWARCO’s Water Check Laboratory and Mobile Water Lab, on Wednesday, December 1, 2021, at state secretariat complex, Alausa, Ikeja
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The Lagos State Government on Wednesday unveiled the state-of-the-art Water Check Laboratory and Mobile Lab to be administered by the Lagos State Water Regulatory Commission (LASWARCO) as part of efforts to monitor the quality of water served to residents and effluent discharged into the environment.
The commissioning of the Water Check Laboratory, located within the State Secretariat Complex, Alausa, Ikeja, and the Mobile Lab, is part of the plan of the state government to comprehensively address the outbreak of cholera outbreak in Nigeria.
Nigeria is seeing one of its worst cholera outbreaks in years. As of September 14, 2021, at least 69,925 suspected cholera cases have been recorded in 25 states across the country and Abuja, according to the Nigeria Center for Disease Control, while about 2,323 people have died from the suspected cases of cholera this year.
Speaking at the unveiling, Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr. Tunji Bello said the development was a testament to the commitment of the administration of the Governor, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu to the delivery of Sustainable Development Goal Six (SDG 6) targeted at ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
“Indeed, this check laboratory is purposely established to improve the capacity of the Lagos State Water Regulatory Commission for effective and efficient monitoring of the quality of water produced and served to Lagosians and the quality of effluent discharged from wastewater treatment into the environment; consequently aiding the sustainable use of water resources in the State.
“Without doubt, the establishment of this check laboratory will ensure Regulatory Compliance, Control Test Intensity Level, Repeatability and Objectivity,” Bello said, adding that it was in line with the Health and Environmental component of the THEMES Agenda of the state government.
The Commissioner said the development would further strengthen the pursuit of ensuring compliance to the drinking water quality standards of World Health Organisation (WHO), Lagos State Drinking Water Quality, and the WHO effluent quality standards, just as he urged all players and other critical stakeholders in the State’s Water Sector to imbibe and sustain the culture of willful compliance to regulations of the State.
In her welcome address, Executive Secretary of LASWARCO, Mrs. Funke Adepoju said the construction of the first state-owned water check laboratory was approved by Mr. Governor to aid the Commission in the discharge of its compliance responsibilities with the aim of preserving the health and wellbeing of residents.
She said the Water check laboratory is equipped to carry out a wide range of water and wastewater analysis including physical and chemical tests, biological and chemical oxygen demand parameters, and laboratory support services for polluted site remediation studies, while other useful indicators can be determined, among others.
“This check laboratory will ensure among other things; Regulatory Compliance, Control Test Intensity Level, Repeatability and Objectivity through the offering of affordable rates for laboratory service irrespective of class or creed,” Adepoju said.
Speaking on behalf of industry experts, President of the Society of Testing Laboratory Analysts of Nigeria (SOLTAN), Dr. Laoye Oluwafemi Oyediran congratulated the state government and LASWARCO management for the feat, saying it would serve the purpose intended.
Oyediran, who is also the Chairman of Governing Council of the Institute of Public Analysts of Nigeria (FIPAN), said: “The advent of COVID really brought to fore the need for testing. Before then, not many people want to test but if you don’t test you will not know what you are going through and that is exactly why it is necessary to carry out the test in all the various laboratories that we have.
“The beauty of the project we are commissioning today is that we have a mobile laboratory which to me is the first of its kind in Nigeria that is fully equipped to be able to serve and deliver service to the people.”
Both the Water Check Laboratory and the Mobile Lab are equipped with facilities that can conduct water tests within five minutes, while the state government has assured that other water testing laboratories will be constructed in strategic locations across the state.