The subject of fresh water dominated the airwaves as radio stations spoke to Earthwatch’s Dr Ian Thornhill and primary school teacher Tracy Guild during a morning of dedicated interviews.
On the penultimate day of World Water Week, Ian and Tracy spoke to 18 radio stations across the UK about water pollution and educating our citizens of the future about fresh water. Interviews were aired from 1 – 7 September and reached 3,018,000 listeners.
Tracy, a Teach Earth alumni, and primary school teacher from Nafferton School in East Yorkshire, highlighted some of the water facts that fascinated her students when they learned about water as part of their topic work. "They loved the fact that, in theory, they could be drinking Queen Victoria’s bathwater and also that the water on the planet today is the same water that the dinosaurs would have drunk!
“The children were also surprised and saddened to find out that not all children have access to clean, safe drinking water and that this often means that girls, in particular, don't get to go to school."
She said the FreshWater Watch programme fitted perfectly with the school curriculum. “Going out to the local ponds and beck, taking water samples and recording observations on the programme’s app helped children realise that the data they collected is really valuable to real scientists. FreshWater Watch programme is a wonderful opportunity to give the children an outdoor learning experience with a purpose. It also helps them realise how human behaviour can impact on both their local community and environment."
Why is global water pollution rising?
Ian explained the HSBC Water Programme to listeners, and how partners are working together to address the issues affecting our future fresh water supply.
He attributed the rise in global water pollution to two main issues stemming from the world’s increasing population: firstly, the expansion of urban areas, and secondly the increasingly intense use of our land to feed people.
As well as the practical things we can all do in our own backyard, such as not paving over our driveways and being more frugal with our water use, Ian said it’s really important to educate ourselves on this topic and inspire future generations to take an active role in citizen science.
Ian was also asked by a couple of stations about the impact of mircobeads on fresh water. The Government pledged to ban microbeads by 2017, as reported by BBC news online.
Radio stations that aired Ian and Tracy’s interviews included Radio Yorkshire, BBC radio stations across the UK including our neighbours BBC Radio Oxford, commercial stations such as Heart and Smooth North East and national UCB.
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