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Symposium Raises Urban Lake Awareness in Sri Lanka

GLOBE India and GLOBE Sri Lanka recently came together for the International Workshop and Symposium on Urban Lake Monitoring and Management. Held at Sri Lanka's University of Peradeniya, a group of 50 GLOBE teachers and other participants gathered to hear researchers present papers on urban lake monitoring. Among the presenters was GLOBE teacher and Project Associate of the Indian Environmental Society Ms. Sonal Gupta. Other attendees included the director of the GLOBE Asia Pacific Regional Help Desk Office Dr. Desh Bandhu, Sri Lanka Country Coordinators Ms. Damayanthi Balasuriya and Mr. Tudor Senarathne, and Sri Lanka GLOBE Trainer Mrs. Shanthi Siriwardhana.

The event was organized by Cap-Net Sri Lanka, part of an international network for Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM). Their goal is to educate and spread knowledge and information from local institutions and individuals in Sri Lanka's IWRM field. The symposium made it possible for students, researchers, administrators, and policy makers to come together and exchange knowledge on urban lakes and related issues.

The symposium, held on 17 – 18 May 2012, focused on how to maintain urban lakes in India and Sri Lanka. As these lakes are greatly affected by the rapid population growth of surrounding cities, there is a great need for water to be monitored. Compared to non-urban lakes, these lakes tend to become more polluted and measure higher in alkalinity levels. This can be attributed to run off from the municipal water waste and the cities' sewer systems. Bird and fish droppings, as well as sediment release may also contribute to the lake's nutrient load, also affecting the water's transparency level. Urban lakes contain an abundance of aquatic weeds, due to their shallow and nutrient rich characteristics. As part of watershed development initiatives, scientists are monitoring the changes in urban lake quality to study the effects they have on their environment, as well as determining how to preserve and maintain urban lakes for the future.

Many Sri Lankan researchers who have scientific expertise in hydrology presented their research papers on urban lake monitoring to the symposium's participants. From GLOBE India, Ms. Sonal Gupta, GLOBE facilitator and Project Associate from the Indian Environmental Society presented a research paper on "Sustainable Management of Urban lake Environment and Ecosystem: A Case Study on Lakes of Udaipur, India." Udaipur is known as the City of Lakes in the southwest part of Rajasthan State in India. Udaipur's lakes are at risk for degradation due to "catchment degradation, encroachment, urbanization, and waste disposal." Ms. Gupta emphasized the importance to raise awareness among Udaipur's population by educating schools and residences, stating, "As these lakes are important to the city's tourism and economy, there is a great need to conserve and maintain them."

Events such as the International Workshop and Symposium on Urban Lake Monitoring and Management in Sri Lanka aim to raise awareness and draw support of crucial goals that will benefit the well being of urban lakes and the communities that depend on them.

Countries in the Asia and Pacific GLOBE Region actively share the progress on their research projects.  The next event highlighting GLOBE projects will occur on 29-31 October, at the GLOBE Science Festival in New Delhi, India, where students, teachers, scientists and research scholars from India, Nepal, Thailand and the United States will come together to share their GLOBE research projects, activities and achievements.  For more information, see the event brochure.

Read more GLOBE Stars from Sri Lanka:

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2 November 2012