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YOUNG
Markus Conrads,

University of Zeeland, The Netherlands

Dreaming away


A sunny day with some dark clouds in the sky – a typical day in
June at the Dutch estuary. I have just finished my exams and
am sitting on the back end of the ferry, which takes me every
day to the university across the Western Scheldt. With the
noise of the splashing water in my mind, I doze off … “At this moment I am on a Delta Expedition a few peninsulas
further away, sitting in a field full of thousands of wild
orchids next to shallow water. There is no time for
daydreaming; we must continue our work to finish our
training for the expedition next September to Bitola
(Macedonia). We have to determine the conditions in this
area by monitoring physical parameters and biological
aspects, as well as surveying the area. All this is necessary to
improve the quality of water according to new EU rules. An
EU candidate country, such as Macedonia, has to prepare
very well for these strict ‘water-related rules’ if it wants to
become a member. To improve the quality of nature, they
have to change their attitudes towards it. They have to realise
that their first priority is to take care of their precious nature,
and not of money. There is a crystal-clear river, full of life
when it comes from the mountains next to the city, but which
is completely destroyed after passing the local industry; and
this all happens in a poor country where the people are still
busy surviving. So it is a very important and unpleasant job
to tell them what they have to do to improve the quality of
their nature. It is a great challenge to finish this job with a
team of 20 students of ‘aquatic eco-technology’ and plenty of
professionals: geologists, biologists and other experts.”
Suddenly, I wake up, the ferry has reached the harbour. Was it
just a dream? No, it’s real:
my name is Markus Conrads and I am a second-year Bachelor
student of Water Management at the University of Zeeland
(the Netherlands). Here in Zeeland, water is part of my
everyday life in many ways: I drink it, I cross the river by ferry
to go to the university and I even study it. *

markusconrads@gmail.com
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