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Snapshot Of Our Waterway Health

Snapshot Of Our Waterway Health

National Waterways Pollution Detectives will be in action around 22 March 2003, World Water Day, to take a snapshot of the health of our waterways. This initiative by the Royal Society of New Zealand is designed to encourage teachers and their pupils to monitor the health of their local waterway and to post their data on the National Waterways Project website.

The main indicators of waterway health are the tiny creatures that live in them. Children will be supplied with a Pollution Detective Kit including a net and container to capture them, and an identification card, so that they can see which animals indicate a healthy/not so healthy water environment. It also includes a collapsible clarity tube. These kits have been designed as part of the work of the National Waterways Projects which is a Learning Outside the Classroom (LEOTC) funded project of the Ministry of Education, managed under contract by the Royal Society of New Zealand.

Out there next Monday in Wellington's Botanic Gardens (from 2.15 p.m.) with her net and "bug box" will be the Minister for the Environment, Hon. Marian Hobbs. She will be assisting Mt Cook School pupils to test the stream that runs through the Gardens. Manager of the Programme, Kathryn Hicks, says she expects about 250 schools around New Zealand to take part this year. The number of schools and students involved is increasing year by year. BOC Limited have given the Royal Society a grant of $5,000 to provide 125 schools with water testing kits.

World Water Day is a focus for activity, but Pollution Detectives are encouraged to be active throughout the year, and to adopt and care for their local waterway. 2003 is UNESCO's International Year of Freshwater and the Royal Society of New Zealand has taken up the theme of freshwater for its major conference in November.

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