Climate Detectives Projects 2019-2020

Project topic: Rivers & Lakes

Project title: All 4 the Danube

Team: Creative students’ laboratory  Highly Commended Project

2019-2020   Școala Gimnazială Nr. 29   Galați   Romania   27 Student’s age: 8-9

Summary of the project

We are 27 students from Galati, an important port on the Danube. Our life began near the Danube River: our first words, our first steps, our first contact with life. We noticed that the Danube suffers major floods in spring, while in the other seasons the water is drying. Over the last years, in summer and autumn, the water level was very low and, in Galati, a sand island formed in the middle of the river. This fluctuation of the water level can affect not only the people, but also the entire ecosystem. Over the last months we investigated the cause of the floods and droughts on the Danube. Through our investigation, we wanted to find out if climate change is a real phenomenon on the Danube and, if so, what we can do to protect the natural balance. Being an active part of an investigation process empowered us. In the past months we felt like real scientists. Even though we are young, we are ready to make our voices heard so as to help our local community.

Main results

Our investigation process was motivated by our curiosity. Over the past five years it has been written in the media that a sand island forms in the middle of the Danube near our town, Galati. By taking walks along the river, we noticed that the island forms during summer, but disappears under water when spring comes. We accessed the EO Browser and searched for photos provided by Sentinel 2 during the past five years. We observed that the island is visible in summer and autumn, when the water level is low and in spring, when the water level raises, it disappears once again. The browser allowed us to determine the length of the island (from 0 to 3 km2). The data provided by Sentinel 2 with its color vision helped us to conclude that the droughts don’t significantly affect the health of the vegetation in our local community. The red color of the fields assured us that the crops are quite healthy. We talked to the local specialists from the Danube River Agency and asked for their opinion on the island. The specialists told us that the island has always been in the Danube but, during 1960-1970 the sand was removed by the local authorities to make navigation easier. Recently, because the Danube carries a lot of sand in its waters, the island has started to form again. During our local investigation we came to the conclusion that the real problem of the Danube is the large amount of plastic garbage floating in it.

Actions to help lessen the problem

At the end of our investigation we concluded that the changes in climate are visible, but they do not affect Danube River very much. A more serious problem is the large amount of plastics which is carried by the Danube. We decided to start a local awareness campaign: „All for the Danube”. We made posters and sent them via social networks: FaceBook, Twitter, TikTok. The citizens were told not to throw plastic garbage near or in the water. This is a small step, but we are hoping for the best. In the future, if every person in our local community is aware that they should not use or throw plastic near the water, the Danube will be a clean and healthy environment for people and all the living creatures.

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