To ensure that the health of Nigerians are not endangered through the type of water they drink, it has become inevitable for the Federal Government to enact a law that will make it compulsory for all water packaging companies to have laboratories capable of performing some levels of quality parameter testing.
Water expert, Mr. Babatunde Jooda said this at a lecture in Abeokuta on Tuesday 26 August. He disclosed that for producers of sachet water who cannot afford laboratories, the government must ensure that regulatory agencies strictly monitor their activities to ensure that they produce quality water.
He spoke while presenting paper at a workshop, organized by the South West zone of the Nigerian Water Supply Association (NWSA).
The association is a body whose members, among other things are concern with efficiency of water supply for domestic, industrial and other needs in the country.
The workshop which attracted participants from Ogun, Oyo, Ondo, Osun and Lagos states was themed: “Water and Sanitation: Key Factors to Healthy Living”.
Jooda, a water engineer of high repute, insisted that the appeal was necessary at this time when public water supply through bottled and sachet water had risen to 31 per cent.
According to him, “Today sachet water (Pure water) is an industry that has more than 18,900 manufacturers and millions of business concerns benefiting from it one way or the other, noting that, “the packaged water industry has served us better in the direction of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG)”.
“It is therefore necessary for us to examine the dynamics involved in managing both quality and challenges involved in this responsible business which is found to be one of the fastest selling commodities in Nigeria with a view of improving its activity and mandate.
“The consumer expects that whatever water is packaged and sold to the public is expected not to have any damaging effect on the health of the people and should be safe”, Jooda revealed.
The water engineer explained that in advanced counties, producers of water, both government and private concerns are highly liable for injuries or objectionable features caused by the water they supplied to the public.
He recommended among other things that governments should encourage producers of packaged water by eliminating multiple taxation and must also, “look for alternatives to plastic packing materials that have been found to be the causes of certain illness and deaths”.
Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State, who was represented by the State Commissioner for Special Duties, Mr. Olu Odeyemi, however, disclosed that 1.8 million people die annually in developing countries through water borne diseases.
Amosun said his administration had made provision of quality water to the people, a priority, which must be accomplished.
Another water quality expert, Mrs. Muinat Jaji who also delivered a paper at the one-day workshop, explained that in most of the developing countries, the major causes of death is consumption of polluted water.
“The establishment of Nigerian Standard for Drinking Water Quality will ensure the safety of the drinking water supplies and protection of public health. The effective protection of public health against water related diseases requires a preventive integrated management approach which includes the protection of drinking water from catchments and source to its use by consumers,” she affirmed.
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