RiverDip Citizen Science Programme Resumes
RiverDip Volunteer Training Workshop
Monday, 12 October 2020, Aalst
After having suspended our RiverDip citizen science programme six months ago, we are delighted to report that training has now resumed. On Monday, 12 October, our colleagues at VMM will host a volunteer workshop called, "Use of the RiverDip app for determining phosphate," in Aalst. The workshop will be delivered by Prof. dr. Mark Lorch, professor of Public Engagement and Science Communication, Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Chemical Technology at the University of Hull, UK.
As of 24 September 2020, the workshop was fully subscribed. However, people who are interested in finding out more about RiverDip can now check out our new training website. This site explains what is entailed in the sampling activity and includes a video and step-by-step guide. There is information about how volunteers can register to get involved and what to expect. The website also provides key messages about the presence of chemicals in our inland waterways and some of the simple changes that we can make to reduce our impact on the environment.
The RiverDip website and video are now available online at: https://riverdip.com/. For more information, please contact Annabel Hanson, Sullied Sediments Project Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many of the inland waterways in the European Union are under threat due to the introduction of Watch List chemicals that are not currently regulated under the European Water Framework Directive. These chemicals include the so-called “gender benders” such as estradiol and the contraceptive pill, and other pharmaceutical drugs such as triclosan and diclofenac, which have been shown to be harmful to wildlife. These chemicals are introduced to our waterways as a result of our day-to-day activities and through industry. Regardless of the source, they accumulate in the sediments in our rivers and canals.
Water regulators and managing authorities do not always know the levels, the locations or the impacts of these pollutants. Nor do they have the tools to assess sediments confidently and make decisions with regard to managing them. An interdisciplinary partnership of scientific experts, regulators and water managers led by the University of Hull (UK) will develop and test new tools to better assess, treat and prevent contamination from these chemicals. This work will be carried out at nine sites, all of which have a history of sediment problems, in the North Sea Region’s Elbe, Humber and Scheldt river catchments.
The aim of the ‘Sullied Sediments’ project is therefore to enable regulators and water managers to make better decisions with regard to sediment management, removal and disposal, thereby reducing economic costs and the impact of these pollutants on the environment.
The partnership will also endeavour to reduce the amount of chemicals entering the water system by raising awareness about what we, as consumers, are releasing into the environment through the use of common drugs and household products. Part of this includes the involvement of volunteers in a sediment sampling initiative across the region, which will inform and empower these citizens as water stewards and champions.
‘Sullied Sediments’ has been has been co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Interreg VB North Sea Region Programme with a grant of 2.043.413 € with equivalent match funding from the partners involved. The project partnership includes public, private and third sector organisations based in the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.
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