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Public Lab Research note

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Pearl River Monitoring in Guangzhou

by shanlter |

shanlter was awarded the Basic Barnstar by rockets for their work in this research note.

What I want to do

I paddle every week with Guangzhou International Dragon Boat Club in Pearl River. The water quality is very bad, and is classified as "-V" according to Chinese Surface Water Standard, which means it does not have any function other then shipping. But we have to practice every week here, since there are no other options for us. We want to record the water quality changes, and try to raise awareness for water protection though this. We hope this data will be useful for scientist in the future (no scientists are interested in this so far ^_^ )

My attempt and results

We made a 6-months monitoring plan:

We made a recording form:

And test the river every week during practice, and record result here:



Questions and next steps

I are not confident with the data quality, also a little bit afraid of the outcome after we publishing the data (we didn't publish it in China currently). I hope some scientist could help us with this also, I want to have deeper understanding of the data, and how will the water affect our health. Also, we are trying to build a water monitoring device (an Arduino based datalogger, with the help of @LaurenED209 ), so we could easily track the difference of the water quality when we paddle at different site.


open-water guangzhou china greenovation-hub



Dear @Shanlter -- this is great! I clicked through to your documents, seems like GreenovationHub is also part of this effort -- shall i tag them in this post?

It is also good to see a nice picture of Lion in action!

Yes! @liz

This is a great idea for a project! I lived in Guangzhou near the river for around one year a while ago. There used to be an event once a year where the mayor and other "officials" used to swim through the river to proove how clean it is. Of course, they shut down factories etc. upstream several weeks in advance. Keep going!

You are right! @Siphirobe! This "Swimming across pearl river"activity keeps going now, and this July, they did this again, and said the water quality has been improved. : )

@rockets awards a barnstar to shanlter for their awesome contribution!

Hi shanlter, I was wondering after looking your results if you have done conductivity ? Your published Total Dissolved Solids were measured by a probe or done by gravimetric analysis. Same question for your Ammonia results.

Did you measure the Conductivity using any meter/Probe? Is the green colour due to eutrophication(excessive richness of nutrients in a lake or other body of water, frequently due to run-off from the land, which causes a dense growth of plant life)? Low DO is the consequence of excessive organic matter present in the water column. Another parameter that would be indicative of nutrient pollution is phosphate(PO4). You could measure it using chemical provided by the same company(Kyoritsu). I have checked their site and they provide high and low concentrations.
Another suggestion would be to check for Sulphide (Hydrogen Sulphide)(WAK-S Kyoritsu) in the sites having rotten egg odour-smell.

Thanks for your very good suggestions, @Paquicamus, yes, this Kyoritsu company make many good kits for water testing. We didn't test conductivity in the river. we sample and test TDS when came back to land.

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