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  • Writer's pictureCecilia Wandiga

Kenya Sustainable Cities - Water Quality Monitoring and Tectonophysics

We focus this post on adjusting for a scientific bias in previous posts. Question received: why always talk about chemistry and biology, what about physics and climate action? 

Point well taken. We hereby discuss the benefits of tectonophysics which is a combined discipline of geology and physics that examines movements in the Earth's surface (crust).  

These are the scientists who can explain the giant sinkholes that suddenly gobble up buses and lorries.

They also like to model data to see if they can forecast movement. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing enable them to create topographical maps that facilitate calculations. Example: if the top of the hill is 600meters above the ground and the underground acquifer spills from the top of the hill down the western facing side at a rate of 5 cubic metres per minute, how much water flow will reach the village at the bottom of the hill during extended drought conditions?

In a field of study called Earth Sciences, armed with strange sounding terms such as geomorphology and geodyamics, tectonophysicists help us understand our vulnerability to natural and human made hazards such as pollution and Climate Change

Evidence of trends in daily climate extremes over southern and west Africa (2006)

Yes, they do perform multidisciplinary research and collaborate with chemists. For example, something that both a technophysicist or a chemist can do is track nitrate movement patterns in flowing water. You can use radiolabeled isotopic markers such as Oxygen 17 or Nitrogen 15 to identify the position of the nitrates as they move.

Those of you who love computing can design environmental sensors using isotopic markers that help us pinpoint the origin and destination of chemical pollutants. 

Estimating Discharge and Nonpoint Source Nitrate Loading to Streams From Three End‐Member Pathways Using High‐Frequency Water Quality Data (2017)

Dynamics of nitrate concentration‐discharge patterns in an urban watershed (2017)

You can then facilitate improved water quality management by contributing the observed readings to Kenya's Open Data project

Here is a dataset specific to Athi River which has a very high level of industrial activity.

Along with social scientists you can create a groundwater reclamation district

Or, facilitate improved implementation of green infrastructure

We hope you agree there are lots of ways to Explore the reactions in life and industry using physics as a tool for environmental improvement!  

Feel free to share your favourite ideas... 

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