The H. Lavity Stoutt Community College’s Marine Studies will join the rest of the world on Saturday, September 18, to observe World Water Monitoring Day.
Head of Marine and Maritime Studies at HLSCC, Ms. Susan Zaluski said that the College plays an important role in the Territory’s water quality through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between HLSCC and the Ministry of Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration; its Mangrove Nursery Project; and 'Blue Economy Lessons’.
She explained that through a MOU between HLSCC and the Ministry of Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration, the Territory's Water Quality Analyst works out of the analytic lab at the Centre for Applied Marine Studies (CAMS).
Quality Analyst at the Ministry of Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration, Ms. Atoya George commented that our marine environment is constantly bombarded with substances that are deemed highly toxic such as heavy metals and oil spills.
She added, “Coastal water quality monitoring has been carried out in the Virgin Islands
for over 19 years. Samples are collected and analysed in the laboratory for physical, chemical and bacterial characteristics that alerts authorities of locations with underlying factors that are affecting water quality.”
“Mangroves,” Ms. Zaluski contributed, “have been the Territory’s natural defense, as it traps sediments and debris, helping to keep water clean and clear – which is necessary for the survival of our marine environment.”
The Mangrove Nursery project, spearheaded by HLSCC in partnership with the Ministry of Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration, is helping to restore damaged mangrove forests across the BVI, contributing to healthy watersheds and improved coastal water quality.
The Head of Marine and Maritime Studies said that the HLSCC’s Centre for Applied Marine Studies (CAMS) is working to educate the future leaders of our marine industry through 'Blue Economy Lessons’.
She explained, “Our Marine Professional Training (MPT) students are learning about protecting coastal ecosystems and the problems posed by marine debris and pollution through hands-on activities and informative field excursions.”
In observing World Water Monitoring Day, HLSCC and the Ministry of Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration are encouraging members of the public to be a part of this global initiative by adapting environmentally friendly practices that support good water quality such as using reusable water bottles, stopping littering, maintaining septic systems, use fertilizers and pesticides carefully, and informing the authorities of hazardous waste spills immediately, to avoid seepage into the coastal and ground water column.
World Water Monitoring Day was created by America’s Clean Water Foundation in 2003 with the intent of being a programme that reached out to people all over the globe to raise awareness of water pollution issues and get people to test their local bodies of water. The global day is designed to draw attention to protecting water resources around the world through maintenance to good water quality and frequent testing.
For more information on the HLSCC Mangrove Nursery Project and/or the Territory’s Water Quality Monitoring Programme, contact HLSCC and the Ministry of Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration, respectively.