On July 5, 2024, Water Watch Penang (WWP) organised a river education programme (under the Negalitres for Schools Programme) for SK Titi Teras at the Penang Botanical Gardens. The primary objective of this initiative was to raise awareness about Penang’s water resources and educate students on river monitoring and conservation practices. The program engaged 30 primary school students, under the guidance of Ms. Rohanizam binti Abdul Rased and four other teachers, who actively participated in learning about water conservation and the significance of rivers in the environment.

Dr. Hong Chern Wern, the Executive Manager of WWP, inaugurated the program with a comprehensive overview of the current state of Penang’s water resources. Additionally, trained facilitators, interns and volunteers, including Mr. Yee Jean Chai, Ms. Tew Yi Lin, Ms. Nur Fatin Azahara and Mr. Shaughn, Ms. Dharya, and, led the students through various water quality assessments sessions.

During the physical assessment, students meticulously examined the river environment, noting land use patterns around the river, identifying odors and observing pipes, drains, and vegetation along the riverbanks. They also evaluated the water’s color, clarity, and turbidity. To measure the river’s flow, students assessed surface velocity and calculated river discharge.

The chemical assessment encompassed both theoretical and practical components, where students measured key chemical parameters such as dissolved oxygen, pH levels, phosphate, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate concentrations to identify potential pollutants and assess overall water quality.

In the biological monitoring session, facilitators engaged students in a catch-and-release activity to identify macro-invertebrates in the river. These bioindicator species, including pagoda snails, leeches, dragonfly nymphs and prawns that provided valuable insights into the ecological health of the river ecosystem that will aid in the detection of pollution or disturbances.

The river education program offered significant insights into the condition of local rivers and water bodies. By integrating physical, chemical and biological assessments, Water Watch Penang aims to enhance its monitoring and conservation efforts. Sustainable management of water resources in Penang remains a priority, and initiatives like this significantly contribute to achieving this goal.

For further information on the River and Water Education Programme, please contact Dr. Hong Chern Wern at hong.wwp@gmail.com.

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