Public Perception of and Public Participation in Microbial Source Tracking

  • Susan Allender-Hagedorn


Microbial source tracking (MST) is used to determine the source, extent, and content of water pollution; results from MST studies can be used to ameliorate the sources of pollution. If the general public is involved in such studies, MST can be an extremely valuable tool. (“The public” can include a local government official, a parent concerned about child safety, a congressman deciding about funding, and/or a water-resource manager; i.e., “the public” includes everyone with a stake in clean water.) But MST comes with a price tag, and national and international agencies that fund a great deal of MST work can be swayed by public opinion. Local nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) can help or hinder MST testing and efforts to apply the results to improve polluted waters. If the public is not involved in an informed dissemination and/or application of the results, it will be difficult for MST results to lead to improvements to the affected waters. Without a clear perception of MST by this public, cooperation in making the necessary improvements and acceptance of MST can be hindered.


Stakeholders Remediation Human Genome Project C.P. Snow Two cultures Science literacy Microbial source tracking Water pollution Public perception of science Public opinion Non-government organizations TMDLs 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EnglishBlacksburgUSA

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