Participants of the project “Small Rivers – Big Challenges” state that the water from the Pripyat river is clean

On May 1, a delegation from Sharkovschina High School No took part in the Festival of Sandpipers (lit. Festival Kulikov) in the Belarusian town of Turov and showed school students from Gomel region how to study the chemical composition of water from rivers. Specifically, they checked the water from the Pripyat River that runs in Turov. It turned out that the levels of phosphates, nitrates, and nitrites in the river are within the norms.
Anna Vasilevskaya, Diana Lukyanenok, both are school students at Sharkovschina High School No2, came to Turov with their biology teacher Oksana Pochepko. They took samples for analysis right near the Turov’s city wharf. However, the results of their research showed that the water from the Pripyat River was rather clean and did contain normal amounts of phosphates, nitrates, and nitrites. The students and their teacher conducted the research through a compact chemical laboratory that had been purchased earlier thanks to the project “Small Rivers – Big Challenges”.
It commenced in May 2013 and helps to draw school students’ attention to the preservation of the small rivers that comprise the Disna River basin. The cleanness of these rivers can affect the development of tourism and agriculture and even the preservation of the Baltic Sea. The initiative is funded by the European Union.
The project has a range of important achievements, for instance, 15 school ecological clubs that are now active in Glubokoe, Postavy, and Sharkovschina districts. Anna Vasilevskaya and Diana Lukyanenok are exactly members of such a club at Sharkovschina High School No2, while Oksana Pochepko heads the the organization.      
"The stall of the project at the Sandpipers Festival was quite popular. More than 40 kids from Turov and other districts of Gomel region were watching the work of our young environmentalists; some kids were even from Ukraine and Russia! They had a chance to participate in the conduct of the chemical analyses and see that the water in the Pripyat River is indeed clean!” – noted Natallia Oreshkova, Deputy Head of the Education, Sport and Tourism Department at Sharkovschina District Executive Committee who also headed the delegation from Sharkovschina in Turov.   
At the Sandpipers Festival, kids could also play Ekokids, a mobile game created by the public association Ecopartnership
And the Centre for Ecological Solutions presented a more traditional, although equally gripping, quest for the most environmentally consccious participants
Young artists that participated in the workshop "Draw a "green" school of the future" receive some prizes (Energy Efficiency in Schools)
This year, the Sandpipers Festival in Turov was organized for the sixth time. It is the Turov’s Meadow where thousands of migrating birds, that is, geese, ducks, oystercatchers, and the very rare species of Terek sandpipers, can grow their chicks there. At the Turov Meadow they can feel rather safely because of the paucity of predators and the adundance of food. The Turov Meadow turns into such a place thanks to spring floods on the Pripyat River. That means that the cleanness of its water is crucial to the lives of thousands of birds from all over Europe.
The Festival was organized by APB-BirdLife Belarus within the framework of the project “Uniting around nature” supported by the European Union. Therefore, in the town’s major square, some other EU-funded initiatives could present its goals and achievements. The project “Small Rivers – Big Challenges” is one of such initiatives.
The project will proceed with expeditions that will organized to collect garbage along the small rivers of Glubokoe, Postavy, and Sharkovscina districts. Their dates are set for May 16. The participants of the expeditions will also check the chemical contamination in the rivers. The expeditions on May 16 will happen thanks to financial support within the Sustainable Development Week 2015. The Week of Sustainable Development is organized by the Johannes Rau Minsk International Education Centre and the Support Programme of Belarus of the Federal Government of GermanyUnited Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Delegation of the European Union to Belarus, Scientific and Research Institute of the Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Belarus.
The support for the expeditions was gained on a competitive basis, which means that the initiative “Small Rivers – Big challenges” 

6 May 2015 

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