Integrating Arsenic-Related Environmental Topics into the Education of the Next Generation of Citizens for Arsenic-Hit Communities: Awareness and Mobilization
International Journal of Environmental Monitoring and Analysis
Volume 3, Issue 3-1, June 2015, Pages: 50-55
Received: Apr. 16, 2015; Accepted: Apr. 17, 2015; Published: Apr. 28, 2015
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Authors
Julian Tyson, Department of Chemistry, University of Massachusetts Amherst, MA, USA
Ray Kronquist, Chemists Without Borders, Sunnyvale, CA, USA
Anowara Begum, Department of Public Health Studies, Asian University for Women, Chittagong, Bangladesh
Shahena Begum, Department of Asian Studies, Asian University for Women, Chittagong, Bangladesh
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Abstract
Several programs, organized by Chemists without Borders or the University of Massachusetts Amherst, in which secondary school or college students are introduced to the impact of arsenic contamination of the environment, and in particular of groundwater in Bangladesh, are described. A common feature is that students are recruited as members of a research group or investigative team and take ownership of the work by making relevant chemical measurements and participating in discussion of the implications of their findings. Leadership is provided in a hierarchical model in which, very often, more experienced students acting as near-peer mentors guide the activities of the newly recruited members of the groups. In some of the programs, the students work with teachers who have been trained by researchers on the university campus. Both in-school and out-of-school programs are described. A feature common to all is that chemical measurements are provided by low-cost field test kits based on the Gutzeit-Marsh reaction, the modification of which has provided a driving force for a considerable number of research projects for the college students. Many hundreds of students have been impacted and the programs, particularly that in Bangladesh, have considerable potential for empowering the students as agents of change in their communities as they not only take specific action as a result of their engagement but also educate other members of their families and communities about the potential hazards of consuming arsenic-contaminated water and rice and how these can be mitigated. Readers are invited to contribute to sustaining the program in Bangladesh and to initiate their own activities with students.
Keywords
Students, Education, Arsenic-Related Projects, Research Experiences, Community Engagement, Arsenic Mitigation
To cite this article
Julian Tyson, Ray Kronquist, Anowara Begum, Shahena Begum, Integrating Arsenic-Related Environmental Topics into the Education of the Next Generation of Citizens for Arsenic-Hit Communities: Awareness and Mobilization, International Journal of Environmental Monitoring and Analysis. Special Issue:Ground Water Arsenic Contamination and Action Plan for Mitigation. Vol. 3, No. 3-1, 2015, pp. 50-55. doi: 10.11648/j.ijema.s.2015030301.16
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