Pollution Probe’s recently released report provides a new set of resources related to pharmaceuticals pollution management and the role of citizen science.

The report, entitled “Citizen Science in the Great Lakes: A Tool for Engagement on Pharmaceuticals and Other Emerging Issues,” prepared for Environment and Climate Change Canada, is the result of consultation with a wide range of stakeholders working on issues related to pharmaceuticals, toxicology, water quality and citizen science and was developed with the guidance of an expert advisory group. It examines the potential for citizen science to contribute to increased public engagement and the development of a more complete dataset on their presence in the Great Lakes.

According to the authors, citizen science initiatives have the potential to amplify current knowledge and contribute to filling gaps in existing science and research programs. They also encourage the public to get outside while undertaking meaningful activities to monitor and improve the environment.

The report indicates that science programs have been shown to be one of the most effective means of increasing environmental awareness and support for conservation efforts “because they build goodwill and provide opportunities for participants to feel like an important part of the solution, share their experiences and advocate for the cause.”

This approach is highlighted in the report to acknowledges that “everyone has a role to play in the creation of knowledge and protection of the environment, including the Great Lakes, while at the same time providing a means of producing more locally-relevant data.”

The report provides an overview of the types of processes and methods that should be considered by those looking to develop a citizen science program related to potential emerging contaminants in the Great Lakes, in an effort to ensure scientifically meaningful and consistent results.

In addition to providing high-level guidance, the report uses a focus on pharmaceuticals as a means of providing examples of how these methods can be applied to a specific issue. It also contains preliminary results from a proof-of-concept case study conducted in partnership with the Swim Drink Fish initiative and research at Trent University, to determine whether there is an effective indicator for pharmaceutical presence.

The contents of the report informed the development of a number of additional resources including:

Guide to Citizen Science in the Great Lakes

Case Study on Determining an Indicator for Pharmaceutical Presence in the Great Lakes

To read the full report, click here:

Citizen Science in the Great Lakes: A Tool for Engagement on Pharmaceuticals and Other Emerging Issues

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