• Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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How we are combating waterborne diseases – MUSA-ELAKAMA, MD Lasena Water

How we are combating waterborne diseases – MUSA-ELAKANMA, MD Lasena Water

Yusuf Musa-Elakama, managing director of OGC Foods and Beverages, the manufacturer of Lasena Water, discusses the country’s water manufacturing industry and how Lasena is supporting plastic recycling in this interview with Josphine Okojie. Excerpts:

Can you tell us about Lasena Water and what the journey has been so far?

Lasena’s Aquifer was discovered in September 2009, but the company commenced operations in January 2014. The journey has been beautiful yet challenging, mainly because we are the first and only Artesian Natural Alkaline Mineral water in Nigeria.

This means we had to do a lot of research, seek knowledge, and educate ourselves as a company, the consumers, and society at large about the benefits of consuming Lasena water. We also had the challenge of brand positioning and handling natural water that has not been treated or preserved in any way, shape, or form.

How clean is the water you offer Nigerians?

At a depth of 522 meters deep within the earth’s crust, untouched by man, Lasena is water in its purest form. We are one of the few water manufacturers globally (only in Nigeria) that does no form of modification to its water. We have simply left it as nature intended it to be, cooled, filtered, and bottled for utter consumption and satisfaction. We pride ourselves on having one of the best waters in the world that nature has provided.

Some states in Nigeria have recorded severe waterborne diseases. How is Lasena supporting those states?

Lasena, as a company, believes strongly that charity begins at home, which is why we are currently supplying some of our neighboring estates with water at a subsidized fee. We intend to expand this (in collaboration with interested parties) to help find a best-case solution for ensuring that all Nigerians have easy access to clean, drinkable water.

How has the increasing cost of fuel impacted your business?

The increase in the cost of petroleum products—diesel and petrol has hurt our business, largely because we are in the manufacturing sector and also an FMCG business. What this means for us is that not only has our cost of production increased significantly (both internally and from our suppliers of other raw materials), but we also have to deal with the cost of transporting our goods to all parts of the country. As a result of this, our consumers have had to deal with an increase in the price of the product.

Read also: Schools, businesses held back over deprived water, sanitation rights – professor

What are the challenges facing bottled water manufacturers in Nigeria, and what effort is your organisation making to surmount them?

All manufacturing companies in Nigeria face similar challenges concerning running and financing costs, and we are not excluded. We aim to reduce these costs by focusing on a cost-conscious approach to avoid passing on the full cost to consumers.

Many countries are eliminating the use of single-use plastics. What is your organisation doing to ensure it moves away from single-use plastics in bottling its water?

The elimination of single-use plastic can truly be successful when we as a country have the necessary infrastructure to encourage innovative ideals. One way in which we know how to reduce the use of single-use plastic is to package our water in glass bottles, but the cost of this would make it invisible at the current moment. So, what we have done as a company is to have a recycling unit that clears plastics from landfills and other locations and recycles them into other usable materials. For example, plastic buckets and shirt buttons, among others.

How can Nigeria handle issues of sustainability in water consumption?

Nigeria is tremendously blessed with so many natural resources, with water being one of them. With that being said, it is of the utmost importance that we value these resources and take care of them as nature intends. One way we all, as good citizens, can ensure the sustainability of our water consumption is to ensure that we only use what is necessary, simply turn off the tap when not in use, and fix any broken pipes.

How is your organisation supporting plastic recycling in the country?

As previously mentioned, we have a recycling unit born out of the idea of the huge amount of plastic waste in our community, which eventually blocks drainage systems and causes floods in the area. We also introduced a system whereby consumers are encouraged to return their empty plastic bottles to the factory to help further reduce the plastic waste in the community.

Congratulations on your recognition award. Tell us about that and the impact on your business.

An award such as this encourages us to keep pushing and breaking barriers. It reminds us of why we started down this path and lets us know that our work and efforts are well appreciated and recognized. We are highly grateful to the BusinessDay award committee both for the nomination and the award.