As part of the effort to protect residents of Lagos, the State Government has sealed atleast 30 water factories for contravening regulations set by the government to ensure Lagosians consume water produced in accordance with international standards.
Some of the infractions committed by the manufacturers include unhygienic production environment, operating without strict adherence to good manufacturing practices, and non-compliance with the state’s regulatory provisions.
It said that the sealing of the factories was in line with the mandate of the Lagos State Water Regulatory Commission (LASWARCO), which was set up to protect residents from unhygienic water consumption.
While stressing that the exercise would be sustained, the Executive Secretary of LASWARCO, Funke Adepoju, explained that prior to the enforcement, the commission had taken steps to engage as well as sensitise producers on best practices in the interest of residents, and financial viability of their investments.
Addressing newsmen after shutting down the factories yesterday, Adepoju said the level of poor and unwholesome practices discovered in some water factories in Lagos was not only disheartening but frightening.
According to her, henceforth LASWARCO will do all within its powers to ward off any attempt to put the lives of residents across Lagos in jeopardy.
She said: “In as much as we have the mandate to ensure that operators remain in business, we also cannot fold our arms and allow infractions to fester without being addressed. The primary regulatory mandate of the Commission is to ensure that operators in the water abstraction, production, and distribution industry comply with best manufacturing procedures to safeguard the health of the people”.
Giving details of the enforcement, the Executive Secretary hinted that the factories were sealed after testing their water and that the result indicated that the 30 factories were operating far below safety parameters.
“As the regulatory body empowered by Section 313 (h) of the Lagos State Environmental Management Protection Law, 2017, to regulate the activities of those engaged in the provision, consumption, treatment, packaging, sales, and supply of bottled drinking water contained in bottles or polythene bags, our principal interest is to ensure acceptable standards”, the Executive Secretary added.
She restated the commitment of the government to ensure that residents have access to potable and safe drinking water in line with the T.H.E.M.E.S. Agenda and Goal Six of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), insisting that the factories would remain sealed until their owners comply with all safety procedures and duly register for further monitoring in order to facilitate compliance with best practices.
The Executive Secretary urged residents to report any water production factory in their neighbourhood suspected of involvement in unwholesome practices to the Commission for appropriate action, saying it is important for residents to key into the Safe Water Campaign of the Commission and work with the government to ensure compliance.