UN-HABITAT and partners in water laboratories iniative in IndiaAs part of the project “Promotion of Water, Sanitation & Hygiene Education and Water Quality Monitoring in Mangalore City, India”, water quality testing laboratories are being jointly established by the German company BASF, UN-HABITAT and The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) in eight schools in Mangalore.

The groundwork for water laboratories at two nodal schools - Vidyadayini High School, Surathkal and Jilla Panchayath Model Higher Primary School, Katipalla, 7th Block is now completed. Mr. Purandar Shetty, Senior General Manager, BASF Mangalore Works, last week unveiled the water laboratories in the presence of senior officials of BASF, UN-HABITAT, TERI, Management of Vidyadayini School and the students.

“The new water testing laboratories will enable students and teachers to test drinking water quality in strategic locations and selected communities in the cities of Mangalore and Surathkal,” said Mr. Shetty in his inaugural address. The laboratories are equipped with glassware, reagents, apparatus, laboratory equipment and resource materials on water education. These will enable students to analyze the physical and chemical aspects of water, track impurities as well as acquire skills on how to purify water. “The aim is to bring about behavioral change among young students regarding water use,” Mr. Shetty added.

“With the expertise of TERI and the specially designed water quality testing kit, the schools will be well-equipped to examine the quality of drinking water. Several awareness generation activities will also be conducted throughout the duration of the project,” said Ms. Ranjana Saikia, Director, Educating Youth for Sustainable Development, TERI. “The focus of these activities will be creation of an environment-friendly cadre of youth in the targeted location,” she emphasized.

Commenting on the good progress of the project, Dr. Pradip Nandi, Chief Technical Advisor, Water for Asian Cities Programme, United Nations Human Settlements Program said, "It is my privilege to be present here on this occasion. We are thankful to TERI for their sincere effort and intellectual input. This is a first step towards achieving the goal of creating an informed community through a school-led community water quality monitoring program. This will hopefully facilitate the community having no access to safe drinking water to adopt adequate measures to minimize water borne diseases.”

BASF, in partnership with UN-HABITAT, launched the Water Education project in May this year. The project is funded by BASF Social Foundation and TERI is chosen as the implementation partner. Targeting 5000 students from 25 schools in Mangalore, the project aims at focusing on water education, handling water responsibly and equipping schools and students to test water quality in schools as well as communities in the nearby vicinity over the next two years.

Out of the 25 schools, eight schools will be equipped with “water laboratories” to facilitate water quality monitoring and two schools will have “water classrooms” to educate students on water cycle and water conservation methods. Specially trained teachers will train students throughout the project duration.