Walter Sisulu University is the host of the National Pollution Laboratory, a venture that should see a significant reduction in marine pollution and unemployment in the province, according to Acting Project Manager Pollution Lab, Dr Motebang Vincent Nakin.
He added that the lab monitors pollution in South African oceans by collecting sediment and biota samples along the country’s coastline Coastal waters.
Biota is the animal and plant life of a particular region, habitat or geological period and sediment being the matter that settles down to the bottom of a liquid.
“South Africa is surrounded by 4 coastal provinces so the lab will be hosted here at WSU and have satellite labs in other three coastal provinces,” he said.
One of the purposes of this project is to reduce unemployment by unlocking opportunities in the ocean economy which will benefit unemployed youth in the different sites selected for this project.
“Since one of the objectives of Operation Phakisa is job creation, we are working hard to employ unemployed youth in the country such that already we have 25 staff members and 18 of them are community workers. The lab is working on 6 sites in the province and each site has 6 employees,” said Nakin.
The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), funder of the project and WSU signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for WSU to host the National Pollution Laboratory as part of Operation Phakisa Projects.
“Walter Sisulu University in partnership with the Department of Environmental Affairs, will champion water pollution research through a partnership aimed at collecting and analysing water quality, sediment and biota samples along the country’s coastline,” said WSU spokesperson Yonela Tukwayo
The establishment of the lab was assisted by Beryl Laboratories to create a laboratory of high standards.
David Adam, Beryl Lab, said, “when we set-up the lab it was during the December period, close to Christmas time and it to be up and ready by January. There were some materials that we had to bring from abroad and they were held up by customs, but it was all for a greater good at the end of the day.”
He further said that he is very excited that they had the privilege to work on the project and he knows that there are possibilities of expansion again and they would be delighted to assist in that as well.