The Dambovita River: Phenomena Regarding Its Pollution 

Summary of the project

Living in Bucharest, we have spotted fluctuations in the level of the Dambovita River passing through our city, as well as the damaging pollution that the water body is facing. Thus, our purpose was to study the correlation, if any, between the precipitation quantity, temperature range, and daily level of the Dambovita River, as well as the effects of greenhouse gas emissions on the overall water quality. Being influenced by multiannual values of these parameters, the studied issue is directly connected to climate.  

Our analysis was made up both of scrutinising existing data and making our own measurements. First, we studied ground historical data regarding atmospheric pollution from 2018 to 2022 (source: national air quality website), temperature range and precipitation from various counties in Romania through which the Dambovita River passes (international weather website), and the daily level of the river (national water administration website). Additionally, we examined the water quality with the help of a Sentinel EO Browser custom script, and paid close attention to the theoretical aspects too. 

Then, we collected additional information with the help of a rover and a rain gauge. Our rover helped measure the daily SO2, CO2, CO and CH4 levels, as well as the temperature in various areas in Bucharest, passed by the Dambovita River. Moreover, our team crafted a rain gauge that we have placed close to the Dambovita basin and measured the level of precipitation daily. Moreover, we took samples from different parts of the river (the city centre and the Morii Lake, into which the river flows) and then analysed the water quality in our school’s Chemistry lab. All the resulting data was then plotted into charts, further processed and correlated in order to determine patterns, connections, and reach a conclusion, all of which can be found on our website. 

Main results & conclusions

While analysing the average value of CO emissions throughout the last 5 years, we have observed a significant improvement in the 2020 lockdown due to the lack of CO emitter to interfere with the balance of the atmosphere. Then, as the restrictions were raised in 2021, the emissions started to increase abruptly. 

The comparison of data measured with our rover shows that, as we are moving away from the high-traffic capital city centre and towards the forest, the emissions of SO2, CO2, and CO shrink drastically. ( 

Furthermore, with the help of a Sentinel script, we studied the water quality and noticed that the portions of the river that pass through green areas are much healthier than those in the busy city centre. ( Also, the river was clearly less polluted in 2020 (mid-pandemic) compared to 2018 and 2022. Therefore, similarly to air pollution, water quality is lower near high-traffic boulevards compared to green areas, which was confirmed as we analysed the quality of Dambovita water samples from the city centre and from a green area, in our Chemistry lab. 

Unfortunately, the Romanian Water’s Administration only offers data about Dambovita River’s level and flow from December 2022 to present. Still, we observed an abrupt growth from January to February, when peaks were reached, our explanation being that the abundant precipitation in January influenced the immense increase. Then, both the level and flow begin to shrink moderately, which is plausible because rainfall amounts in February and March were scarce. We are to look more into this possible implication as more data on the level and flow of the river will be available.  

Finally, our study highlights a possible impact of precipitation on the Dambovita river, and a clear correlation between air and water pollution. 

What’s Next? Actions to make a difference and help lessen the problem

Having participated in the Climate Detectives School Project since 2019, each year, we broaden our efforts to promote environmental awareness and advocate for conservation. This year, we started by sharing our findings on our website ( that we have built using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, in order to inform the mass population and encourage environmental action. 

What is more, we have contacted the authorities and are working on organising a river cleaning action, as part of our ‘Together for a pollution-free Dambovita River’ campaign. As this will require a larger time window, in the meantime, we decided to take samples from various parts of the Dambovita River ourselves and went one step further and investigated water quality in our school’s Chemistry lab, as presented here: . When all will be set, we are to promote the river cleaning campaign both in our community and on our website to have national reach. 

Despite our focus on the Dambovita River, we are aware of other climate issues, such as deforestation. As we find it imperative to see the overall picture and  have a large-scale impact, we also took part in a tree planting event, where, despite the rain and cold, we, together with professionals and volunteers, succeeded in planting 1750 trees in one day, as we have explained in-depth on the dedicated page on our website: . In the future, we plan on continuing our sustained efforts and participating in multiple such events. 

Last but not least, we made leaflets to share our results and distributed them within our high school, also advertising our next conference, where, during the Green Week in our high school, we are set to present our project and fight for environmental conservation in front of a considerable audience.