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Community monitoring of coliform pollution in Lake Tanganyika

Moshi, Happiness Anold; Shilla, Daniel Abel; Kimirei, Ismael Aaron; O’ Reilly, Catherine; Clymans, Wim; Bishop, Isabel; Loiselle, Steven Arthur; (2022) Community monitoring of coliform pollution in Lake Tanganyika. PLoS One , 17 (1) , Article e0262881. 10.1371/journal.pone.0262881. Green open access

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Abstract

Conventional water quality monitoring has been done for decades in Lake Tanganyika, under different national and international programs. However, these projects utilized monitoring approaches, which were temporally limited, labour intensive and costly. This study examines the use of citizen science to monitor the dynamics of coliform concentrations in Lake Tanganyika as a complementary method to statutory and project-focused measurements. Persons in five coastal communities (Kibirizi, Ilagala, Karago, Ujiji and Gombe) were trained and monitored total coliforms, faecal coliforms and turbidity for one year on a monthly basis, in parallel with professional scientists. A standardized and calibrated Secchi tube was used at the same time to determine turbidity. Results indicate that total and faecal coliform concentrations determined by citizen scientists correlated well to those determined by professional scientists. Furthermore, citizen scientist-based turbidity values were shown to provide a potential indicator for high FC and TC concentrations. As a simple tiered approach to identify increased coliform loads, trained local citizen scientists could use low-cost turbidity measurements with follow up sampling and analysis for coliforms, to inform their communities and regulatory bodies of high risk conditions, as well as to validate local mitigation actions. By comparing the spatial and temporal dynamics of coliform concentrations to local conditions of infrastructure, population, precipitation and hydrology in the 15 sites (3 sites per community) over 12 months, potential drivers of coliform pollution in these communities were identified, largely related to precipitation dynamics and the land use.

Type: Article
Title: Community monitoring of coliform pollution in Lake Tanganyika
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0262881
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0262881
Language: English
Additional information: This is an open access article, free of all copyright, and may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, built upon, or otherwise used by anyone for any lawful purpose. The work is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10143934
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