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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Glenwood Lake, New Rochelle, New York, USA

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Glenwood Lake, New Rochelle, New York, USA


Registered: December 2019
City/Town/Province: New Rochelle
Posts: 1
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I believe I am embody the spirit of the Apprentice Ecologist Initiative through my strong character of dedication, independence, leadership, and ambition evidenced through my service to my community. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, Lifes most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others? This philosophy has been ingrained in me from a young age and has followed me throughout my young adult life, and has inspired me to actively participate in my community. Success is not defined by how accomplished an individual is, rather how the individual uses their accomplishments and their education to help others. Therefore, I am constantly striving to serve the underprivileged population in my community as an Arabic teacher, mentor, and tutor. However, I realized that I can broaden my reach and help more people around the world, and my ambitious and innovative nature drives me to research environmental sciences to contribute to people on a global scale.

When I was seven years old, I visited India, and what was supposed to be an innocent, fun family vacation, quickly became my inspiration for my research project more than a decade later. As I walked through the villages of India, I witnessed young children suffering because they could not afford clean water. For many people, clean drinking water is not a luxury, rather a norm. However, for the 1.1 billion people around the world, one in every six people, primarily from the poor communities of Africa, Asia, and South America, access to clean water is a necessity yet a far fetched dream. Without fresh water, a significant amount of the population consumes contaminated water, resulting in the spread of water-borne diseases, such as infectious diarrhea and other enteric illnesses. Diarrheal diseases are the sixth leading causes of morbidity and mortality in developing countries, with approximately six million deaths annually. Therefore, there is a desperate need for simple, effective, affordable methods for the production of drinking water free of pathogenic microbes.

Water sanitation systematic reviews illustrate the beneficial effects of improving drinking water at the point of use (POU); water filtration moments before consumption. Recent studies claim that there is a 30 to 40 percent decline in diarrheal diseases by purifying drinking water at POU. Traditional methods such as chlorination, ozonation, and advanced filtration process have been prominently used to sterilize drinking water. Although these treatments proved to be efficient, they produce toxic byproducts and require high energy needs. Commercially manufactured filters are costly, and filters created using locally accessible resources are of limited treatment efficiency. Although the bactericidal impact of sunlight has been acknowledged for over a century, the realistic use of solar disinfection was initially studied by Acra et al. in 1989. In order to tackle this worldwide issue, I conducted an experiment to gain a deeper understanding of sunlight disinfection mechanism in pond water for Enterococci bacteria, and in particular, aimed to assess the effect of dissolved oxygen level, and sun exposure on bacterial inactivation.
This study was carried out to determine the effects of sunlight exposure on the survival of Enterococci bacteria. Field experiments were conducted at five locations at Glenwood Lake: North Pipe, North site, West Site, South Pipe, and East Site. The locations broadly represented ambient surface waters with ranging sunlight exposure and varying runoff waters. Waters were collected and tested on rain events and on no rain events using an Enterolert IDEXX kit, and the Dissolved oxygen and water temperatures were measured using a Hach Dissolved Oxygen Probe. Other observations such as clarity, smell, algae/scum, wildlife, and vegetation were recorded.

Although the purpose of my study was to disinfect the contaminated water in developing countries, I conducted my research in New Rochelle, New York, since it was accessible. However, despite the location being of a different country, the science behind the solar disinfection can not be doubted. In fact, specifically, the Glenwood Lake was highly contaminated by Enterococci bacteria, and the results of effective solar disinfection imply that this method can be used in other parts of the world with the same probability of success.

As the intensity of the exposure of the sun increases, the greater populations of Enterococci die. North Pipe had the greatest loss of Enterococci bacteria cultures with ninety-nine percent decline and North Site also had a significant loss of bacteria count. In full sunlight there is a significant decrease in bacteria. Similarly, in partially sunny there was a ninety-one percent decrease and in mostly shady, limited sun exposure, there was an approximately eighty-seven percent decrease in pathogens. However, in the shady, no exposure to sunlight, region there was a sixty-five percent increase in bacteria. Even with a small exposure to UV light, there is a substantial decline in bacterial population.

Solar disinfection is more efficient in water containing high levels of dissolved oxygen. As the level of dissolved oxygen increases, the population of Enterococci bacteria decreases. When UV light comes in contact with dissolved oxygen it produces oxygen free radicals which are single oxygen atoms. A free radical is any molecule that contains an unpaired electron in an atomic orbital. As a result of this unpaired electron, the molecule is very unstable and highly reactive. Oxygen free radicals then react with the bacteria, they damage the proteins, cell membrane, and DNA by stealing their electrons through a process known as oxidation. When oxygen free radicals oxidize important components of the cells (such as their proteins, cell membrane, and DNA), the components lose their ability to function normally, and ultimately kill the pathogens. Thus, it is highly recommended to shake a three-fourths filled water bottle before placing in the sun.

Worldwide, more than a billion people lack access to clean water. Consumption of pathogenic waters leads to deadly gut diseases and is one of the top ten causes of mortality in developing countries. In addition to the scarcity of safe drinking water, third world countries are also financially limited. As a result, there is a dire need for a simple, affordable, and effective method for providing clean water to developing countries. Solar disinfection proves to be an easy, cheap, and successful method for purifying water. It uses free radicals to disinfect the pathogenic microbes.

Although I did not initially begin my clean water project because of Nicodemus Wilderness, I intended to apply for this scholarship to inform more people and to alleviate my financial burdens. Since having learned about the extent of the water issue, it has become my duty to use my resources and my findings to educate others in an effort to bring global change, and therefore, I have competed in research competitions to inform people and to improve the conditions of developing countries, and despite the numerous awards and praise I received, there have been very little advances towards addressing this global problem. However, I am hopeful that this foundation will provide me with opportunities to educate others about my research and demonstrate to millions of people of a useful, realistic water purification method. The ecologist project has inspired me to continue to use different platforms to educate others and to inform people in third-world countries about this promising, revolutionizing technique, millions of deaths will be prevented. In the meantime, receiving this scholarship will allow me to focus on my education by alleviating the financial burden of paying for college, will grant me more time to continue to help others, and will allow me to become the first female in my family to obtain a college degree.
Date: December 23, 2019 Views: 570 File size: 22.3kb : 282 x 211
Hours Volunteered: 175
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 18
Area Restored for Native Wildlife (hectares): 2.43
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