Award-winning Graduate Assesses Water Quality In Nigeria
Date posted: 27 April 2011
A University of Derby graduate has received three awards in recognition of his research work investigating water quality in Nigeria.
Temidola Adedayo Ojelabi, 28, from Merchant Street, Derby, undertook the study of ground water quality in his homeland for his final degree dissertation at the University of Derby.
He has been described by local water managers as a 'national hero' for his work, and an exemplar of the value of student projects abroad.
He identified some water pollutants in a stretch of water in the Offa area of Nigeria related to toxic elements and heavy metals. He found levels were at a high concentration - but not above WHO (World Health Organisation) or FEPA (Food and Environment Protection Act) guidelines for potable water.
Although the water meets WHO recommended standards, the water from most of the wells is not properly clean and pure enough for human consumption. Adequate treatment is required in some hand-dug wells in the study area to avoid unexpected water-borne disease that could lead to serious epidemic disease.
Alex Adegoke, a commissioner for water and waste management in Offa said: "Temmy's work was very helpful, assisting us to detect some drinking well water in the locality which could pose hazards to human health by causing pipe borne diseases such as cholera, typhoid and other water related diseases.
"Temidola is a national hero and has laid a very good example of work for many Nigerian students abroad. His work will be remembered for many years to come and we will appreciate it if he can extend his analysis to other localities in the state. We appreciate his efforts and we wish him the very best in life."
Temidola was shortlisted for the 2010 Lifechanger Awards in the category of 'Young Male Achiever' in London which recognises excellence in community development, the NAPE Awards for international achievement, and also won a prize for his studies by the University of Derby. Temidola is now also working within Derby City Council's Infrastructure Support department.
Temidola said: "It was fantastic to receive such recognition for my research. I hope I have been able to raise the profile of water quality to improve people's lives in this area of Nigeria."
Temidola received an internship from British Petroleum to visit Africa and undertake his study. His ground water assessment covered an area of land in Offa, southwest Nigeria, to assess its suitability for human consumption.
He found the Agun and Atan streams recharge the ground water and the insufficient supply of pipe-borne water due to an increase in the population forced the majority of the people to depend on the well water as a source of potable water.
The water samples were analysed in a laboratory in Lagos using an atomic absorption spectrometer. Almost all of the pollutants detected in the well water samples were discovered up to 200 metres away from identified sources of pollutions.
In conclusion to his study, Temidola said: "These identified ground water pollutants can be tackled by increasing environmental interventions through public health education, which can be handled by a team of well-trained community health workers. Increasing awareness campaigns to improve household and environmental sanitation in rural and urban areas in developing countries would contribute greatly to combating groundwater pollution."
His University tutors were Dr Andy Johnson and Professor Aradhana Mehra in Geographical, Earth and Environmental Sciences, who were delighted with his achievements.
Dr Johnson, based in the University's Geographical, Earth and Environmental Sciences department, said: "From the outset, Temidola applied himself consistently and effectively to his project, acting on advice and turning out a commendable final report. I am delighted that his work has achieved recognition."
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