24th August 2022 – A river water education awareness session was successfully taken place on the 24th August 2022 held at Cherok Tokun Nature Park (National forest) with the participation of 30 students and 5teachers from SMK Bakti. Water Watch Penang’s Executive Manager, Dr. Hong Chern Wern, oversaw the event with the help of WWP interns and facilitators including Ms. Ong Ke Shin, Mr. Hanson Yeoh, Ms. Adeline Chong, and Ms. Nur Aina Syahira.
Despite heavy downpour at the beginning, the session commenced with opening address by Dr. Hong followed by the facilitation of the education session on the current water crisis and issue, which is particularly acute in the state of Penang, which is the region in Malaysia with the greatest water usage. Dr. Hong also included some topics about water saving which is also part of Negalitres for Schools Programme for SMK Bakti.
The pupils were then split into 3 groups, facilitated by Ms. Ong Ke Shin, Mr. Hanson Yeoh, Ms. Adeline Chong, and Ms. Nur Aina Syahira. Students were instructed on the rightful steps to carry out physical, chemical and biological task of the river water monitoring assessment. The participants were directed on how to measure and determine river velocity, temperature, odour, and turbidity as part of the physical analysis.
The chemical test included testing the river water for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, phosphate, dissolved oxygen, and pH using a colorimetric approach. Next, the participants were led through a ‘capture and release’ exercise to identify macroinvertebrates indicative of the river’s overall health. The students were mesmerised by the real-life marine macro-invertebrates they captured. Such creatures comprise of the dragonfly nymph, the crayfish nymph, the freshwater crab, and so forth.
An extra educational session, ‘An introduction to bird-watching’ by Malaysia Nature Society (MNS) was also conducted by Mr. Tan Choo Eng, a veteran ornithologist, Chairperson of Penang MNS and a councillor of MBSP. He taught the student how to conduct bird watching activity using binoculars and what kinds of birds they would encounter on a typical outing. The students were thrilled when they happened to ‘capture’ some uncommon birds at Cherok Tokun.
At the end of the session, Dr. Hong administered a short quiz to the participants where they get to win some goodies. In addition to expressing his gratitude to the attendees and facilitators, Dr. hong urged everyone to begin using water more efficiently.
For more information, please contact Dr. Hong Chern Wern at firstname.lastname@example.org