Day 4

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Paper title SSpace technology and citizen science for building resilience and implementing mitigation measures in a vulnerable tropical coastal region
Authors
  1. Grinson George ICAR-Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute Speaker
  2. Nandini Menon Nansen Environmental Research Centre India
  3. Anas Abdul Aziz CSIR - National Institute of Oceanography, Regional Centre Kochi
  4. Arya P Kumar ICAR-Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute
  5. Gemma Kulk Plymouth Marine Laboratory
  6. Bror F. Jönsson Plymouth Marine Laboratory
  7. Shubha Sathyendranath Plymouth Marine Laboratory
Form of presentation Poster
Topics
  • E1. New actors, stakeholders and Commercial EO
    • E1.04 Space Capacity Building in the XXI Century
Abstract text Low-lying lands are highly vulnerable to sea-level changes, storm surges and flooding. Changes in the water table associated with excess rain or droughts can also impact sanitation conditions, potentially leading to disease outbreaks, even in the absence of floods.
In the ESA WIDGEON (Water-associated Infectious Diseases and Global Earth Observation in the Nearshore) project, one of the study areas is the coastal district of Ernakulam in Kerala, India. Ernakulam, low-lying, bordering the sea and criss-crossed by the waters of the Vembanad Lake and wetland system, and home to the biggest city in Kerala (Kochi), is prone to frequent flooding, storm surges and fluctuations in the water table. These extreme events can lead to mixing of sewage, for example from septic tanks, with the lake and coastal waters. Our earlier studies have shown that these waters have high levels of bacterial pollution, in particular from Vibrio cholerae and Escherichia coli, both showing antibiotic resistance to multiple antibiotics. In this context, it is important to improve the sanitation practices to build resilience, as well as to put in place robust mitigation measures in the event of extreme events. To this end, we have been developing a smart phone application which will enable the people living in vulnerable areas to enter their health and sanitation information to an online depository using their smart phones. The information collected can be used to develop a sanitation map for the region. In the event of natural disasters, the citizens would then be able to update their sanitation and health information immediately, using their mobile phones, such that the dynamically updated maps can be used to direct mitigation measures to the most susceptible areas.
Our plan is to use this simple and cost-effective method as a contribution to building a flood-resistant Kerala. Success of the endeavour would depend very much on communication between the scientists designing the experiment, the citizen scientists contributing the data, and the government and non-governmental bodies engaged in mitigation measures. It is also important for the citizens to realise that they are part of developing a system that would be beneficial to them in the long run.