Coladeras con conciencia/Strainers with conscience
By MAR Leadership Team | MAR Leadership Team
The State of Quintana Roo in Mexico is characterized by a karst landscape formed by sedimentary rocks of porous consistency that allow the rapid filtration of liquids to the subsoil, giving room to the aquifer of the Yucatan Peninsula.
Since 1970, the northern zone of Quintana Roo has maintained a constant population growth, and, proportionally, the demand for groundwater has increased as it is the main source of human supply in the region. Unfortunately, contamination of the aquifer and the sea has also increased due to poor septic tank or latrine infrastructure, illegal dumping of wastewater into the sea, and discharge of untreated sewage infiltrating the aquifer. Such infiltration risks affecting water quality both in shallow wells and in the coastal zone associated with the locality. Due to the hydrogeological characteristics of the area and its high hydraulic conductivity, the aquifer is highly vulnerable to environmental contamination, especially in coastal areas. This infiltration generates potential contamination of the aquifer and affects the water quality of the coastal zone, which has repercussions on tourism and fishing activities.
2021 MAR fellows Fernanda and Francesca's project "Coladeras con Conciencia/ Strainers with conscience" seeks to educate and make society responsible, starting with Puerto Morelos, about the importance and existing contamination of the aquifer that directly affects the health the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System (MAR).
The 2021 cohort cycle started in January with an introduction to the program in the context of COVID-19. In February, leaders participated in a webinar on the Mesoamerican Reefs' health and were trained on project design. Afterward, Fellows were trained on Storytelling and developed videos of their projects. We want to share with you the video of the Honduran fellows' project, which is looking at the inadequate treatment of wastewater in Roatan Island.
Currently, in Roatan Island, Honduras, the infrastructures used for wastewater disposal are mostly septic tanks, private treatment plants, and very few community treatment plants. One of the latter is located in the West End community, considered one of the most significant tourist affluence areas. It is organized with a board of trustees and a water board called Polo's Water Association, which provides continuous access and treatment of drinking water and has a sewage system and a wastewater treatment plant. In recent years West End, through the water board with the support of different organizations such as MAR Fund, Coral Reef Alliance, Zolitur, BICA, Healthy Reefs, has achieved the implementation of projects related to the rational use of drinking water and improvements in the wastewater treatment system, connections of properties to the sewage system. This is part of the achievements in the Healthy Reefs for Healthy People 2020 Reef Health Report, where macroalgae decreased from 27% to 24% and coral cover increased from 21% to 27%. However, the other existing community treatment plants or those that have been formulated for future construction fall in between: - A treatment plant built and inactive due to a lack of efficient technologies, causing unsustainability of the system. - A treatment plant in use, but with inefficient management by the service provider. - Treatment plants are constructed, but the communities are uncertain about their management and operation.
With the experience of the water board in West End, the team intends to create a treatment plant management model that will serve as a guide to improve the current systems on the island and future constructions. Thus ensuring the proper governance and sustainability of the system and not putting at risk the quality of the treated effluent and, consequently, the reefs' health.
We are happy to announce the launch of the MAR Leadership 2021 Cohort.
Cristina, Brenda, Diana, Fernanda, Francesca, Zain, Aaron, Zara, Antonella, Nikita, Trudy, Damaris, Olga, Susel, Wenses, Celia, Jenny, Stacey, Henry, Buddy, Maria, Veronica, Andrea, Anisa, and Sussy will be designing and implementing projects that promote strategies for improving the health and resilience of the MAR ecosystem, with a focus on addressing nutrient pollution and contributing to a sustainable recovery from the impacts of COVID-19.
During 2021 Fellows will be trained on a series of topics: starting with the reef's status and its impacts, the main factors affecting the reef, sources of pollution, and impacts. The environmental legal framework applicable to the MAR region, public policies regarding water security and the human right to water will be analyzed. Water characteristics, water uses, sampling techniques, sample collection, and the main water sampling techniques, sample collection, and main wastewater treatment processes. Some data science techniques include handling statistical tools, information visualization and statistical tools, information visualization, and mapping. Community development and conservation processes with examples of community-based projects applicable in the MAR region will be presented, identifying actions and strategies that support the region, identifying activities and strategies that support participatory processes. Besides, they will be trained on Project design, Storytelling: how to tell stories that have an impact, negotiation and conflict resolution, personal development and leadership and, resource mobilization and fundraising in the new era.
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