Exploring local environmental issues and building a green city together with the community





The Institute of Science and Environment of USJ has been actively running research projects focused on a broad range of environment-related topics.

The Institute of Science and Environment of the University of Saint Joseph (USJ) has been actively running research projects focused on a broad range of environment-related topics, covering the ecology and dynamics of the wetland ecosystems in Macao, light, air, noise, and coastal water pollution levels in Macao, as well as impacts of the various pollutants on aquatic animals. 

These projects aim to generate scientific data that may be useful for decision-makers and bring community awareness of the importance of protecting the local environment, ecosystems, and biodiversity. The research projects on wetlands, for example, are important in the establishment of conservation strategies for existing ecosystems in Macao. 

In these projects, emphasis is given to current ecological and conservation issues in Macao, encouraging students and community participation as well as cooperation with non-profit organisations and local government institutions.

One of the more recent projects is “Nature-based solutions for a cleaner and safer Macao”, which aims to investigate ways in which nature-based solutions (NBS) can be applied to enhance the water quality and availability of coastal waters in Macao and take advantage of the other ecosystems services that they provide – such as the reduction of water-related risks (e.g., flooding due to impact of storm surge), ecosystems rehabilitation and maintenance as well as enhancement and protection of biodiversity in the local coastal wetland ecosystems. Scientific investigations and public awareness activities are being carried out within the framework of this project.

Related to this is the successful launch of the exhibition titled “Macao’s mangroves: a coastal treasure”, visited by hundreds of school students and local community members. The exhibition showcased the local mangroves’ importance through scientific display boards, photographs of the wetland flora and fauna and interactive tank models. Moreover, mangroves artwork pieces submitted by students from various local schools were also displayed. The exhibition, complemented by public educational talks and guided field visits to the local mangroves sites, aimed to raise curiosity and motivate people to be more pro-active in managing and conserving ecosystems. 

Field trips to the local wetland ecosystems have been regularly organised by ISE/USJ since 2013, to promote the value of freshwater and brackish/marine ecosystems to USJ students and the community. 

These trips are part of a science promotion/community outreach program by the institute.  Participants are brought to the local freshwater and brackish/marine wetlands to observe the aquatic plants and animals and experience hands-on measurements of the Physico-chemical to assess water quality conditions in the area/sites. 

These trips are complemented by educational talks and lectures for local school students about the local wetlands – what they are, where they are located in Macao, why they are important (for water filtration, fisheries, biodiversity, coastal protection, etc.), and why is there a need for their conservation and protection. 

Thousands of students from all levels (graduate, university, high school, primary), teachers, and other local community members have joined these activities since 2013, with around 600 participants in 2020. Participants expressed enthusiasm and interest through their positive feedback after the activities. Pre and post-activity survey evaluation also revealed that the activities effectively increase the knowledge of participants about environmental issues, which hopefully will translate into concrete action.

The institute also organises other environment-related activities like coastal clean-ups, allowing participants to make the connection about their personal consumption and the litter they see on the beach;  mangroves restoration to increase awareness and involvement in mangroves conservation within the local community. Public lectures open to the community are also regularly organised to promote environmental literacy, and the preservation and sustainable management of our natural environment. 

Through scientific research projects and community outreach programs, ISE/USJ is committed to continuing its effort in promoting environmental sustainability for a better and greener Macao.

Macao Daily News feature: http://www.macaodaily.com/html/2021-03/30/node_41.htm