Youth Citizen Science Program is Launched in Thailand
During November 2021, 3C in collaboration with WWF Thailand Freshwater Programme launched the Youth Citizen Science Program. Six elementary and secondary schools around Nong Han Lake in Northeast Thailand participated in the program and carried out the first water quality sampling and analysis event for the “cold season.” Students were taught about nutrients and pollution of water bodies and the chemical compounds that reveal the status of water quality. Handbooks containing methodology to be employed and data sheets were shared with the students. Students recorded the concentrations of nitrite and phosphate in their collected water samples. They also used the test kits to measure dissolved oxygen, pH, and water temperature. Physical characteristics of the environment (e.g. industry, forest cover, urban structures) and water (e.g. color, odor) were noted. All data were recorded in the handbooks and will be compared with data from future sampling seasons that will take place in 2022.
Through the month of March 2022, the second sampling activity was undertaken for the "hot season." The same groups of students from the six schools participated and took turns collecting the water samples, with those that didn't collect samples last time, doing so this time. Like for the cold season, the same methodologies were employed to analyze water quality, and results compared with the previous season. Overall water quality from both seasons is good (i.e. measured variables lie within acceptable standard ranges). However, in some sampling stations, dissolved oxygen was low. In this season, we observed more coverage of algae and other invasive plants. The decomposition of these plants and/or coverage preventing sunlight to reach deeper depths could be factors causing low dissolved oxygen content.
The rainy season sampling took place from June to August 2022. Students enjoyed learning science through hands-on methods with lots of laughter and smiles during this activity. After 3 seasonal samplings, results showed that the water quality of Nong Han Lake is still good with only one location where the DO is low. The results have encouraged local residents and policy makers to ensure that no new polluting activities are introduced to the lake.