A Chinese flagship Citizen Science/Crowdsourcing Initiative

[The Woodrow Wilson Center in the District of Columbia has a special program on Citizen Science initiatives (sign-up information at the bottom of this post). This message from the Center’s Elizabeth Tyson highlights a Chinese water quality monitoring program which has several elements that might be adapted for someplace in the insular Caribbean, and which could be considered for a NatureTech award.]

Hi All –

For those of you following the development of citizen science and crowdsourcing in the People’s Republic of China, here is a succinct update on theInstitute for Public and Environmental Affairs flagship citizen science river monitoring initiative, “Foul and Filthy Rivers.” The unique program leverages a mobile application (Blue Map) for citizens to report “odorous or filthy areas” of rivers. What happens next is quite unique in the citizen science and policy realm in that the information reported goes straight to the municipal environmental protection agency and they have 7 days to investigate and close the claim. After 7 days the report becomes public.

The following is an update on the initial metrics of the program. These were compiled and provided to me by Kate Logan, an employee of IPE. For further information you can follow the hyperlink to WeChat (social media application in China) and use google translate to get further information.

“August 9: How much progress has “black and smelly” rivers made? Organizations begin citizen surveys

    • Introduces the background of the government’s project and the coalition of environmetnal NGOs that are working to publicly supervise the initiative, inviting more volunteers and NGOs to join in their efforts
    • Guizhou is the only province where the number of �扈㈻� have actually decreased
    • Urges government to be more proactive in releasing results of cleanup efforts, and citizens to be active in supervising

August 10: Black and Smelly Rivers Investigation: Beijing, Jiangsu, and Fujian NGOs Get Started

    • Results of local NGO investigations in Beijing, Jiangsu and Fujian

August 12: Black and Smelly Rivers Investigation: Shandong, Henan, Hubei, Hunan and Guangdong NGOs Get Started

    • Results of local NGO investigations in Shandong, Henan, Hubei, Hunan and Guangdong

August 16: The Blue Map’s “Black and Smelly River Reporting Version” Goes Live! A New Way of Supervising Black and Smelly Rivers!

    • Infographic on how to use the Blue Map app to report
    • Can also now use the Blue Map app to see where reports have been made
    • Already 50 individual reports have been officially accepted

August 17: Black and Smelly Rivers Investigation: I’ve Reported a Black and Smelly River, Will I Get a Response?

    • Of 1846 reports from February 18 through the end of July, 1727 had been “resolved,” a rate of 94%
    • The highest number of reports came from Beijing (576), followed by Hunan (302), Guangdong (164) and Shandong (137)
    • A handful of provinces did not respond within the deadline of 7 days, with Liaoning not having a single instance of responding on time any of the ten complaints raised. Conversely, Beijing had a 100% rate of responding on time.
    • Complaints peaked on March 14 to 20, coinciding with World Water Day
    • The potential effect of grassroots NGOs can be seen in that there were a high number of reports in provinces with high environmental NGO activity — and in particular Hunan, where the number of waters designated for cleanup is relatively high, likely due to the active work of citizen reports. However, there are still some provinces with a discrepancy between the high number of reports and low number of waters designated for cleanup, which must be further examined and addressed”

Cheers and Happy Summer,

Elizabeth Tyson Elizabeth.Tyson@wilsoncenter.org
CoDirector, Commons Lab, Wilson Center

Message via CitSci-discussion-L@cornell.eduthe discussion-based listserv for the community supporting citizen science, volunteer monitoring, and other forms of public participation in scientific research.

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