Workshop on water-quality testing held for NSS volunteers in schools

How pure is the water that you drink? Students from across the State are on ‘Mission Jalayana' to find an answer to this question. To help them in their mission, a district-level one-day workshop on water-quality testing was held for various National Service Scheme (NSS) volunteers at Government Girls Higher Secondary School, Pattom, here on Wednesday.

Inaugurating the function, K. Muraleedaran, MLA, said it were the future generations who would have to face the consequences of environmental degradation. He said such initiatives and scientific studies should be followed by implementation schemes at the earliest to prevent further problems.

Conservation scheme

The workshop is part of the Jalasuraksha-Jalayana Scheme of the NSS under the Directorate of Higher Secondary Education. The water conservation project is implemented in schools with support of the Communication and Capacity Development Unit (CCDU), State Water Resource Department, and UNICEF.

The training is being held in 400 higher secondary schools across 14 districts under the guidance of 400 NSS programme officers. The students are trained to determine the quality of various drinking water samples in and around the adopted villages under the NSS scheme. A field training kit is provided by the CCDU. It contains reagents and the details of experimentation needed to determine the chloride, nitrite, iron, fluoride, pH, and coliform levels in the samples.

Development goal

State Project Officer M. Remya told The Hindu that determination of water purity was a long-term plan aimed at achieving one of the main goals of environmental sustainability as listed in the eight millennium development goals of the United Nations.

More than 40,000 such samples from across each district would be tested, and a consolidated report submitted to the UNICEF and the government for further action, she said.

“This year, the scheme to test the quality of available water has reached near completion in various districts. The final phase will end in the capital city,” Ms. Remya said.

The conservation project traces it roots to 2007 when a few NSS volunteers launched various activities to save the highly polluted Bavali Puzha in Kannur district. This was followed by various schemes, with each year focussing on a particular aspect of water conservation.

In the year 2009-10, ‘Kabiniku Oru Mulam Chella,' a project to plant bamboo saplings along the banks of the Kabini, a tributary of the Cauvery, was taken up. More than 1,500 volunteers planted bamboo saplings along 42 km of the riverbanks.

E.G. Raju, State Programme Coordinator for the project, said it was necessary to adopt a scheme to understand the level of damage to the various water resources in order to initiate further conservation activities. Hence, this year, a scheme on qualitative analysis of drinking water sources was started.