Sydney Foreman


My name is Sydney Foreman, and I am a student at IU pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Informatics. I grew up in Jeffersonville, IN which is right above the Ohio River. Growing up next to the river I was always hearing about how gross it was, and I was always being told to never swim in it, because of the dangerous bacteria. I decided to base my research on the Ohio because of all these warnings I received throughout my childhood.


            This project is based on waterways that are polluted in America. The reason we focused on polluted waters was because of how these waterways affect the surrounding communities, whether it’s used recreationally, for drinking purposes, or it’s just the place they live. The focus on this project also stems towards black communities due to practices like redlining; they are affected more by the polluted waterways.

            We started off by researching rivers in Indiana that are affected by pollution, but then we stemmed off from that towards rivers or lakes around America. This led me to the Ohio River because I grew up around it and it is a large river that goes through multiple states.

            We used many websites to find our research and we used one to do a story map for this project. I also used my phone to take pictures of the Ohio River for this project.

            The target audience for this project is young people because eventually they will be the ones to make decisions and laws to affect the pollution in the river. If the youth become more educated on how many communities are affected by pollution and lack of drinking water, then they can focus on fixing those problems in the future. For my portion I’m hoping for the target audience to be the residents of the Ohio River Basin. Most people may not know about the pollution and toxic waste in the Ohio River, so I’m hoping that my part of the project might open their eyes and lead them to doing more of their own research.


Personal Relationship:

            Growing up next to the Ohio River I was always hearing about how gross and dirty it is. This led to me having a bad relationship with the river because it was a body of water so big, yet I couldn’t swim or play in it safely.  Although, I was never affected by the Ohio River in my day-to-day life. I have always had clean drinking water and places to swim in on a hot day. I had the opportunity to take advantage of having a hot shower every day, sometimes even taking two showers a day if I wanted to. This upbringing was very different than some others, and for that I am grateful that I grew up with the privilege of having safe drinking water, but it is unfortunate that it is seen as a privilege and not a basic human right to many people.

Thoughts on Pumzi:

            While watching Pumzi for the first time I tried to take notice of what the community was like. I noticed that there was a class system and that they used their pee and sweat for drinking water. I assumed that the government knew more than the citizens about the outside world and wondered what their goal was in keeping them all in a desert. After seeing Pumzi die while planting the seed I thought that her mission was pointless and that hope for humanity was lost with her.

            After the film I had many questions of why she planted the seed, knowing she was going to die. I was wondering what she was expecting to find, and if her expectations were met. I was wondering if the government was going to do anything about her escape as well.

            The second time seeing it I was a lot more understanding of her character. She had been trapped in a horrible community her whole life and this seed gave her a purpose to go out and figure things out for herself. Even though she died in the end, I watched the film more closely and saw that it ended with a huge mass of trees. While it’s not certain if the seed caused the huge forest, or if it was already there ,it still left the viewers with some hope. This hope led me to believe that she had a purpose and there was still hope for humanity in the outside world. This film offers us a perspective of what could happen if we don’t change how we’re dealing with the water crisis that communities around the world are having today.

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