The Ethiopian Environment and Forest research institute (EEFRI) was established by the regulation of council of ministers (Regulation No. 327/2014) under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MEFCC) on December 26, 2014. EEFRI is mandated to conduct and coordinate research, and generate information and technologies that will help to solve societal problems in the areas of environment, forest and climate change. It is known that one of the problems in the country is lack of reliable analytical data on the status of pollution of mainly water, soil, and air which is needed for proper decision making by the regulatory bodies. Therefore, it is highly important to have an environmental testing laboratory equipped with the state-of-the-art analytical facilities and trained manpower to address the above mentioned issue.
About the Directorate
Environmental laboratory directorate was established at EEFRI in order to accomplish the following objectives, viz.
- To support the research carried out at the institute by generating reliable analytical data,
- To generate reliable and legally defensible analytical data needed for environmental compliance monitoring including implementation of the Stockholm Convention on POPs and the Cartagena protocol on Biosafety done by MEFCC, and
- To provide laboratory analysis service upon request to customers coming from other national and regional research institutes as well as higher learning institutions.
II. Focus areas of the Directorate
The Environmental Laboratory Directorate has two divisions, viz. the Physicochemical and the Biological Analysis division.
- The Physicochemical Analysis Division
This division is established to work on the chemical analyses of environmental samples and generate reliable analytical data on inorganic and organic pollutants in water, soil, edible plants, air and other relevant environmental matrices. The major analytes of interest are major cations and anions, aggregate organic pollutants, heavy metals and trace organic pollutants. At present the physicochemical division consists of water quality testing and soil chemical analysis laboratories. There is one ongoing project entitled “Awash River monitoring”. The purpose of the project is to do trend analysis regarding the concentration of certain heavy metals in the river. The water samples are taken twice a year, i.e., during the dry and the wet season. The laboratory under this division is located at the Central Ethiopia Environment and Forest Research Center (CE-EFRC) here in Addis Ababa.
- The Biological Analysis Division
This division is established to carry out analysis in the field of environmental microbiology with a special focus on soil and water microbiology issues. The data from such analyses can support research carried out to minimize the impact of environmental pollutants on water and soil. In addition, the division is also committed to generating analytical data on the status of GMOs in agricultural products. The data will be used by MEFCC for regulatory purposes in implementing the Cartagena protocol on Bio-safety which the country has already ratified. Therefore, it is highly expected that the biological analysis division generates information on the status of GMOs in agricultural products in Ethiopia. At present, the division is working hard on fulfilling the necessary laboratory chemicals and equipments to achieve its goals. The division also supports research carried out on transgenic plants found in confined areas to improve their productivity, adapt and grow them in drought and saline areas. Currently, the bio-safety lab is located at the EEFRI’s Head Office Building at Gurd Shola. For questions, comments or suggestions concerning the directorate, we can be reached at email@example.com.
Alemayehu Esayas Masresha (PhD)
Director, Environmental Laboratory Directorate