SCIENCE IN ACTION: MONITORING RIVER HEALTH

We’re excited to share what we’ve been up to with our partners Earthwatch and a range of community scientists!

Enlisting the help of fourteen schools and other partners, we’ve been monitoring the health of local freshwater resources with special water quality testing kits. These groups have been collecting the same data monthly at various sites along the Lilongwe River, revealing levels of nutrient pollution and helping to map out the environmental threats affecting the area.

The data gathered is then uploaded for further analysis and shared with the Ministry of Water to fill data gaps on water quality and improve river basin management. Results indicate elevated nitrate concentrations in many river sections, showing that agricultural activities in the upper catchment area are likely impacting the river. Sadly, nearly all the sites revealed the presence of plastic litter in or near the river.

For the schools, the testing provides a practical learning experience and encourages children to take an active role in understanding and managing their environment – as well as advocating for much-needed change.