By Chioma Umeha
As the world celebrates the International World Water Day this week, Nestlé Nigeria Plc was not left out, as they marked the day in grand style with children and adults alike during the week.
The event which had this year’s theme of the International Water Day – ‘Wastewater,’ took place at the company’s Agbara factory, was attended by pupils and teachers from schools around the environ, who are beneficiaries of Nestlé Waters project – Water Education for Teachers(WET).
The programme trains teachers to help raise awareness about water conservation and proper hydration among school children.
In his keynote address, the company’s Country Manager, Jason Lambe, stressed Nestlé’s commitment to pursuing rigorous management standards and water- saving programmes throughout its operations and a continuous monitoring of their performance, to ensure that the present-day water challenge is met.
Reading excerpts from UN-Water, he said wastewater is in focus this year because of its huge impact on the environment.
Globally, over 80 per cent of the wastewater generated by society flows back into the ecosystem without being treated or reused, but the company recognises that it can make a significant contribution to addressing this problem, not just in their factories and facilities, but in their supply chains as well.
Therefore, as part of its shared value commitments, Nestlé in Central and West Africa region (CWAR) to which Nigeria belongs, is treating waste water to a level that is safe to return to the environment.
Speaking on the importance they attach to wastewater management, the Managing Director for Nestle Nigeria, Mr. Mauricio Alarcon said that they recognise the growing water challenge, adding that responsible management of the world’s resources by all water users is an absolute necessity.
He reiterated that they are committed to tackling the global water crisis through increasing water recycling and promoting the safe reuse of wastewater.
He explained that this objective was set in line with the Sustainable Development Goals Target 6.3 which requires that by 2030, there should be “improved water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally.”
Mr. Adegbesan Afolarinwa, the Maintenance and Improvement Supervisor, Industrial Services, listed some of the measures and techniques put in place to achieve the factory’s objectives of efficient water management, which include wastewater treatment.
Afolarinwa said that wastewater in the Agbara Factory is treated to remove Chemical and Biological toxic wastes to ensure the water is conducive for Aquatic life survival.
The treated water is then discharged through the factory’s fishpond to the Municipal Water Treatment facility before being finally released into the environment.
The school children participated in a number of educational games and exercises and were quizzed at the end to ascertain what they had learnt. They were later given a guided tour of the factory where they saw first-hand what they had learnt.