9 November 2013 / Students from The Chinese Foundation Secondary School joined us at the Eco Education Centre for a workshop on Water and Us, our first workshop of a series organised by UNESCO-HK’s Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Learning Programme under the Environment theme.
This year’s Environment theme has the focus: “Preserve the environment for sustainable development”. Linking the concepts of water, environment and sustainable development, students explored sources of fresh water in the world, water treatment and waste water impact.
The workshop was led by TTT’s Vickie Yau collaborating with Elvis Xu, a PhD candidate at The Swire Institute of Marine Science, University of HK- the marine laboratory located at Cape D’Aguilar, just across Tai Tam Bay, and adjacent to HK’s only marine reserve.
Elvis’s research focuses on environmental factors influencing seawater quality and tracking environmental risks to Cape D’Aguilar Marine Reserve. He discovered high levels of pollutants in seawater in the reserve, including endocrine disrupting chemicals, being released from adjacent sewage treatment plants.
Dunstan Marris, one of our founders, gave an introduction to the business side of HK and China’s water supply and how this can be seen as “water risk”. He explored the contribution of industrial and agricultural use of water in China and the concept of a water footprint, which Vickie later developed. How can the business sector change its water consumption, why should it do so and what is the role of individuals in guiding action?
The workshop concluded with a reminder about the impact of personal actions on water risk- not only our personal consumption, but also that our behaviour can impact business. Students considered how individuals can conserve water at a personal level, by a housing estate and what HK can do to improve its water supply.
Thanks to the Water Services Department for their guidance and resources in developing course material, and to Elvis Xu and SWIMS for their support.
Learn more about HK’s water in this 2012 article by HK-based NGO, China Water Risk: 8 Things You Should Know about Hong Kong Water
Photos from the workshop can be accessed at UNESCO-HK’s Facebook page.