First assignment of group n° 025
Resources used by the team
First description of our project
First description of our project's idea
Clean Garonne Project
1. What Problem do you want to solve ?
Nowadays, we can noticed that the earth is evolving and not specially in a good way. Our environment is being depleted of its resources little by little. We notice that ONG, companies, advertisements increasingly talk about our environment, and how we have to change our behavior. It is important to preserve the nature around us. The society talk about “Environmental sustainability”, it means to take and make decisions that can protect the environment and our living space, with particular attention on the human behavior to protect it. Moreover, people are aware of the impact of their action on the nature around us. They know the full impact on the environment, from the businesses and the individuals. The goal is to become completely sustainable in future years: less waste in our production, using less energies, in more general reducing the negative impacts of our behavior on the environment.
We decided to focus on the water part of the earth. 70% of Earth’s superficial is constituted of water, 65% of the human body is constituted of water. Water is a source of conflict. Having sufficient good quality water is a major issue of the coming decades and could become the cause of new conflicts. Today ONU has identified 300 potential conflict areas related to water in the world. We know that the polluted water can posed some problems in the nourishment and the health of all individuals.
We noticed in our research, the seas and oceans are polluted by millions of tons of waste. IFREMER estimated 540 million waste present in European seabed. The Mediterranean Sea has collected 300 million, the North Sea 150 million, the Bay of Biscay 50 million, 40 million in the Adriatic. These debris can accumulate up to 2000 meters deep. Furthermore, about 80% of the rubbish in the oceans and seas are from hearth and the humans, and 20% of marine origin.
All of us were in Toulouse last years for our studies and we noticed our river The Garonne is so much polluted. A lot of Toulouse citizen use the Garonne as a waste disposal. The pollution of the river is due to toxic chemicals released into it but also rejects of hydrocarbon, industrial discharges and more. All of that is killing wildlife and flora around it.
Consequently, we would like to solve that problem, the pollution in the Garonne. We would like to decrease the percentage of pollution in this river, and to decrease the rejection of all harmful products or objects already in it. Therefore, fight against the continuity of this pollution.
2. Why does this problem exist ?
This problem has several source, they result either from human made or from natural phenomenon.
- The human behavior :
This factor may seem to be the most obvious when we think about water pollution in general. It is the top of mind of many people who agree to say that human are disrespectful of nature. They are throwing objects in the rivers like they would throw some rubbish in the bin. Many waste are found in the Garonne river. It can goes from cans or crisps' packets of Sunday's climbers in the Pyrenees to cars or metal pieces around cities. This explains why there is so much rubbish let on riversides.
- The factories :
Many important factories surround the Garonne, Airbus in Toulouse and Companies living from the ocean nearby Bordeaux's port. But these factories are consuming water and rejecting it after usage in the river. The water rejected contains a lot of chemical products and micro-elements that pollute the Garonne and that are toxic for its fauna. This is a major problem to which a lot of scientists had think about, but it appears that it would be hard to solve without sacrifices from companies themselves but also from regions around the Garonne who could loose their economical advantages.
- Agriculture :
The Agriculture is proven to be most polluting sector on earth. Despite bad human behavior and huge the consumption of factories, the agriculture remains a big dilemma. We need agriculture to live and to eat, we need its production to respond to the world demand, to feed humans and animals. But to achieve this, we use enormous quantities of water that are going straight into the ground or back to the rivers while they are full pesticides. This problem is particularly true with the Garonne because it a rural river surrounded of fields powered by plenty of small tributaries, which are crossing many other fields.
- Sewers and water wastes :
Daily waste that are sewers and other water wastes from daily consumption are rejected into the river. Even if this water is treated after usage, no machines yet can clean it perfectly, in order to eliminate residues. These residues come from our alimentation, when we clean under the water a simple fruit on which there was pesticide. It can also come from drugs that human use to treat themselves, which are eliminates in our urines. Unfortunately this source might be difficult to minimize.
- Floods :
Floods have many sources. They are mainly due to environmental and climate factors. For instance heavy rains and storms can increase in a small time lapse the level of the water and drag trees, rocks or anything nearby on the path. On the highest part of the Garonne, a seasonal source of flood is the melting snow. Even with dam, every year important floods hit the upper towns. We heard about St Beat Village two year ago that was hugely destroyed by the water. However these natural sources are heavily powered by human construction. Indeed, to gain space or build new construction, human modify the path or the river by shooting straight segments where the river was doing twists and turns. This has for consequence to increase the power of the flow. This is dangerous for people and even worst this bared houses and fields bringing everything into the water.
3. What breakthrough are you commited to creating?
How can we, by a simple invention or/and findings and by encouraging the population to clean and keep clean durably the Garonne ?
- Human needs to keep off and clean the Garonne of the big element such as metal pieces or cars.
For this we could implement cleaning actions financed by the crowd funding to remove waste from the bottom of the Garonne and then make sure that this kind of behavior will be avoid. Also, regional organizations could take decisions regarding river modification.
- Bacteria or products to clean the water of the Garonne of the drugs and pesticides residues.
This second proposition would act on the quality of the water.
Potential experts already identified
- Christophe Mocquet - Marine biologist & Lecturer and academic advisor at SKEMA Bachelor (Nice) - Likelihood to join the final panel : 9/10
- Teacher from the biology University of Toulouse - Likelihood to join the final panel : 6/10
- Member of the agency “Adour-Garonne” - Likelihood to join the final panel : 5/10