Citizen Scientists Contribute to Real-Time Monitoring of Lake Water Quality Using 3D Printed Mini Secchi Disks

George, Grinson and Menon, Nandini and Abdulaziz, Anas and Brewin, Robert J W and Pranav, P and Gopalakrishnan, A and Mini, K G and Kuriakose, Somy and Sathyendranath, Shubha and Platt, Trevor (2021) Citizen Scientists Contribute to Real-Time Monitoring of Lake Water Quality Using 3D Printed Mini Secchi Disks. Frontiers in Water. pp. 1-15.

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    Abstract

    Citizen science aims to mobilise the general public, motivated by curiosity, to collect scientific data and contribute to the advancement of scientific knowledge. In this article, we describe a citizen science network that has been developed to assess the water quality in a 100 km long tropical lake-estuarine system (Vembanad Lake), which directly or indirectly influences the livelihood of around 1.6 million people. Deterioration of water quality in the lake has resulted in frequent outbreaks of water-associated diseases, leading to morbidity and occasionally, to mortality. Water colour and clarity are easily measurable and can be used to study water quality. Continuous observations on relevant spatial and temporal scales can be used to generate maps of water colour and clarity for identifying areas that are turbid or eutrophic. A network of citizen scientists was established with the support of students from 16 colleges affiliated with three universities of Kerala (India) and research institutions, and stakeholders such as houseboat owners, non-government organisations (NGOs), regular commuters, inland fishermen, and others residing in the vicinity of Vembanad Lake and keen to contribute. Mini Secchi disks, with Forel-Ule colour scale stickers, were used to measure the colour and clarity of the water. A mobile application, named “TurbAqua,” was developed for easy transmission of data in near-real time. In-situ data from scientists were used to check the quality of a subset of the citizen observations. We highlight the major economic benefits from the citizen network, with stakeholders voluntarily monitoring water quality in the lake at low cost, and the increased potential for sustainable monitoring in the long term. The data can be used to validate satellite products of water quality and can provide scientific information on natural or anthropogenic events impacting the lake. Citizens provided with scientific tools can make their own judgement on the quality of water that they use, helping toward Sustainable Development Goal 6 of clean water. The study highlights potential for world-wide application of similar citizen-science initiatives, using simple tools for generating long-term time series data sets, which may also help monitor climate change.

    Item Type: Article
    Subjects: Marine Environment > Marine Pollution
    Marine Environment
    Marine Environment > Water quality management
    Divisions: CMFRI-Kochi > Marine Capture > Fishery Resource Assessment
    Subject Area > CMFRI > CMFRI-Kochi > Marine Capture > Fishery Resource Assessment
    CMFRI-Kochi > Marine Capture > Fishery Resource Assessment
    Subject Area > CMFRI-Kochi > Marine Capture > Fishery Resource Assessment
    Depositing User: Arun Surendran
    Date Deposited: 25 May 2021 04:36
    Last Modified: 25 May 2021 05:58
    URI: http://eprints.cmfri.org.in/id/eprint/15125

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