With the beginning of the summer vacation of 2019, the Public Environmental Center for Sustainable Development begins work on the project “Summer Ecolaboratory”. Its main goal is to change the attitude and interests of young people in the city of Varna to current environmental issues. The project plans several trainings to acquaint young people with the methods for collecting information about the quality of the environment and its interpretation. A large-scale voluntary collection of data on the presence of dust particles in the air, noise levels, GSM and UV radiation in various parts of Varna is also planned. The measurements are performed with specially provided equipment for the volunteers. The information about the obtained results is presented to the Varna public through current publications on the website and social channels of the Public Environmental Center for Sustainable Development, press releases and newsletter. We expect to change the behavior and attitude of young people towards everyday life practices that affect the environment.
The issues of the quality of the air we breathe, the water we drink, the foods we eat, the man-made radiation we are exposed to are increasingly relevant and determine the lives of people in the big city. With each passing year, society becomes more sensitive to these issues. Young people are becoming more active in this regard. In order to build their own vision and attitude to one or another problem, they use the available information from the Internet and social networks. Sometimes it can be speculative and misleading, leading to a misunderstanding of the problems.
“Summer Ecolaboratory” is an idea to engage young people interested in environmental issues in the processes of active monitoring, information collection, processing, analysis and disclosure.
It is planned to conduct 6 trainings for volunteers aged between 15 and 29 to carry out environmental monitoring. Each of the trainings is focused on one of the topics of environmental issues of modern urban culture – air quality, water, food, noise levels, GSM and UV radiation. Visits to control structures and laboratories operating on the territory of the city of Varna are envisaged. External training on monitoring the biological diversity and quality of soils is planned at a specially organized plein air. The plein air is held in August in the village of Ezerets, where the Public Environmental Center for Sustainable Development has its base.
At the second stage of the project, points are determined on the territory of Varna for measuring the parameters of the environment. In them the Summer Ecolaboratory has daily points for collecting information. This sat key intersections, boulevards, city gardens. Some of the data, such as UV radiation, are published in real time during the measurement, others are processed, analyzed and then disclosed.
The third phase of the project is an information campaign, which includes the ongoing publication of the collected information on the Internet and its publication in the media, the publication and distribution of a newsletter “List” and a series of posters and information materials.
The result we strive for is more and more young people to be up to date with the current environmental problems of modern urban culture, such as air quality, water, food, noise levels, GSM and UV radiation. Some of the young people of Varna will have the necessary knowledge and skills to actively participate in the monitoring of pollution in the city where they live. In this way, their commitment to environmental protection will be increased. And last but not least – a real practice for informing the public on current environmental issues will start in Varna.