HSBC Citizen Science Leaders are helping to reach Global Goal 6 by researching water quality where scientists can't reach and helping ‘ensure access to water and sanitation for all'.

The UN Global Goals provide a framework to end poverty and protect our planet by 2030. They require collaboration of actors at all levels in order to achieve them, from international cooperation, the public and private sectors to grass roots individual action. HSBC and Earthwatch are aiming for UN Global Goal 6, ‘clean water and sanitation’ with citizen science.

More than 8,000 HSBC staff have become Citizen Science Leaders specialising in FreshWater Watch research. This local and global approach is unique in its scale – collecting almost 16,000 data samples. 

Professor Steven Loiselle, Earthwatch’s Global Freshwater Research Manager, said: “FreshWater Watch participants have enabled scientists to meet research goals that could never have been met in the past. Every hour spent training a participant provides an average of seven hours of monitoring being performed – a 720% return on time invested.”


At least 1.8 billion people globally use a source of drinking water that is faecally contaminated, but thanks to the HSBC Water Programme partnership seed funding, Earthwatch launched FreshWater Watch with WaterAid Nigeria in Benue state. Here communities are monitoring their water quality so that they can take action where they detect faecal contamination. 

Citizen Science Leaders In New York detected a leaking sewage pipe thanks to their regular lunch time testing on the piers, which you can read more about here.

The project is showing significant results, for example allowing scientists to estimate the frequency of algal blooms in rivers and streams across the globe and detect excessive nutrients in water ecosystems in the Americas.  Additionally, recommendations to policy-makers in 16 countries will directly improve the way in which aquatic ecosystems are being managed.

The Global Goals are ambitious and call actors at all levels to take action. Citizen Science Leaders around the world have been spreading the word about reducing water impacts to their friends, families and local communities. Citizen Science Leader Ademir, saves water and takes his family to test water with him.

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