WSU PROUDLY HOSTS NATIONAL POLLUTION LAB
Walter Sisulu University struck it lucky when they received an opportunity of a lifetime to host and manage the National Pollution Laboratory.
The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) and WSU signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for WSU to host the National Pollution Laboratory as part of the Operation Phakisa Projects.
Dr Motebang Nakin, Acting Project Manager for the National Pollution Lab said, “The lab will monitor pollution in South African Coastal waters. South Africa is surrounded by the coast; we have 4 coastal provinces so the lab will be hosted here and have satellite labs in other coastal provinces.
One of the purposes of this project is to try and reduce unemployment by unlocking opportunities in the ocean economy which will see unemployed youth being employed in the different sites selected for the project.
“One of the objects of all Operation Phakisa projects is job creation; this project as well will create more jobs for people of the Eastern Cape, professionals which will be working in the lab and non-professionals who will be working at the estuaries, especially the youth.”
The plan for this lab is to get it accredited by the South African National Accreditation System (SANAS) which will see the results tested in the lab being accepted internationally without the products being not trusted in terms of quality.
Dr Thanduxolo Ntozakhe, Technical Manager and Principal Investigator said, “We are still preparing and writing Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for the accreditation but it does not end there because SANAS does not accredit a plan, they accredit a running laboratory, therefore until we start operating in a month or two that is when we will continue finalising the accreditation.”
Dr Ntozakhe further explained that the lab will be of great value to the Science students as they will accept students for in-service training so that they get experience in the industry as there are a lot of students who struggle to get training after they have finished their course work.
Though the lab is not yet functional, sampling work has already begun as the lab technicians in the lab are already continuing with the work.
Miss Vuyokazi Momoti, Research Technician said, “I travelled to the Golf Island which is under Britain to do water testing, to check the quality of drinking water used by the people working for the South African weather station based there.”
She further stated that there were complaints about the quality of drinking water there and DEA as funders appointed WSU to go there and do the testing as they are responsible for the pollutance in all of the South African coastal waters.
The lab self-sustenance plan will manifest when it has been SANAS accredited and started operating and getting payments from the potential customers namely municipalities and private companies, amongst others.