The NGO TATRY initiated and organized a terrain research called "Expedition of Liptov". The project was focused on basic and secondary school students who conducted practical monitoring of a selected river basin during the summers of 2002 and 2003 (each of 36 days of monitoring).
The objective of the project was to attract the attention of young generation to the protection of the river basin and to mobilize the interest of local communities in public campaigns to improve the quality of river basin. The terrain monitoring consisted of practical monitoring of chemical and biological parameters of water quality.
In addition, the terrain research included mapping of localities of invasive plants, illegal dump yards, and status of bank covers impacted by river flows regulations. Thus, complex aspects of the environmental protection taking into account integrated views were investigated.
The observations of biological parameters were carried out in the same places together with the chemical water testing so as to observe the correlation between the chemical pollution and the biological activity of water streams. The results of the monitoring were processed and recorded with the support of environmental teachers, water experts, and environmental authorities.
The results of monitoring were very surprising for local communities that did not pay any attention in the past. In addition, more than 250 illegal dump yards were determined. The existence of invasive plants was ascertained in 90 localities.
All results were submitted to the environmental inspectorate and other public environmental and municipal authorities. The environmental inspection is now using the monitoring data in planning of inspections in selected operators and waste water treatment plants.
The project resulted in the establishment of so-called “River coalition” that grouped together different stakeholders in impacted localities. The main mission of the River coalition is promoting water protection based upon the approaches of integrated water resources management. Also, the successful project resulted in the initiative of local communities: more than 700 agreed to clean up the river banks filling more than 1,400 bags of litter.
Several other activities are now initiated dealing with the nature protection, removal of illegal damps, biotopes research, revitalization of villages, and others.
- Practical monitoring survey supported the environmental education and students better understand the water cycle and water pollution in a complex way
- “Project” learning is attractive and brings face to face experience
- Linking education activities and local communities campaigns are effective tool for public participation
- Concept of IWRM is better explained when allow for practical experience of stakeholders
Importance of the case for IWRM
The case describes how local people, who are not specialists, can take part in practical monitoring and investigation of water quality in the place they live. The case also shows that there are new innovative approaches available in education processes that could attract young people and their parents for the improvements of environmental quality.