EcoMap India Crowd-mapping to solve India's local environmental issues

Published on June 10, 2014 um 11:06

Summary of your idea

Using Crowdmapping technology & public participation, EcoMap India works with a two-pronged approach. One, it helps create database of identified civic environmental issues posing threat to community health and the affected communities thereby calling for better government accountability. Two, it helps initiate action in the affected communities by implementing sustainable solutions from changemaker community (which has initiated positive change). EcoMap India aims to map and take action to solve eco-hazards or local environmental concerns through crowdmapping and community building. Crowdmaps act as visual data showcasing tools which help bring people together as stakeholders of issues mapped by them. (Crowdmaps have been used to map safety concerns in India. Check for example)

Expected impact of your idea on sustainable development

Expected Impact of Ecomap India: 1. We are not only pining the issues but also positive community initiatives taken to solve or at least find an answer to those issues. This way, we are connecting the dot. So one community can learn from other changemaker community to find support and learn from them on solving those issues. 2. The longer term vision is to obtain sufficient data and information about local ecohazards or environmental issues across the country. So, on a single platform we will be able to identify the specific issues facing communities nationally. This would also help bring states together on a common thread and that would in turn, push towards a more accountable government. 3. When people participate, they become pro-active citizens and we identify the eco-conscious individuals. They become the points which take the idea forward. They learn about the environment as well as laws which are very critical to making a difference and presently, remain unreachable to citizens.

Plans for implementation and sustainability

We are currently mapping 10 categories - Water & Sanitation, Air Contamination, Noise Pollution, Illegal Mobile Towers, Solid Waste/Garbage Disposal, Medical Waste, Human-Wildlife Conflicts & positive Community Initiatives. But since its impossible to focus on all of them at one time, our focus is to tackle one or two issues at a time, taking each one up in phases of two-three month period. Ecomap being a fairly new concept. The next six months are testing period for the project. The current platform used is the ushahidi crodmap. However, for the long term vision to be realized, the plan is to develop an independent web platform. Secondly, we also plan to increase the number of categories when the participation crosses a certain benchmark. On this platform people would be able to: a. Register for themselves. Raise questions, find support from community change makers, debate and plan local action against municipalities, policymakers and implementers. b. Ask questions regarding anything to be their local environmental problems in particular and generic environment related concerns and legal information in general. We plan to have experts from the technical field of air, water, waste, noise, EIA, environmental lawyers, activists, urban planners to respond. To make the platform sustainable, mobile apps are also planned a year or so down the line. So, people can file reports on the go. I realized the importance of apps when I carried a short survey targeted at people from the environment and then conservation background. The theme was to study the potential of online mediums to bridge environment people solutions gap. In this, most respondents felt that a mobile app would act as an incentive for them to participate in something like EcoMap.

Your profile

I have a Masters in Environment Management and Bachelors in Life Sciences. During my Masters, I developed interest in Environmental sociology that basically is study of society-environment interactions. But working for the last 2 years, it constantly erred me that environmental problems are not reaching towards any sustainable solution which perhaps is because community involvement remains limited. Im 26 and have been the top presenter of my class. I have worked with nonprofits in the sector and headed national and regional campaigns. Besides, Im also part of an international womens group working towards ending street harassment and social research tools remain my favorites. Im also a passionate writer on social causes and fiction.

Stage of Idea

conceptual stage, planning stage

Your idea has a positive impact on

environment, health, poverty reduction, cultural diversity , youth

EcoMap India's Logo

Two pronged approach of EcoMap to solve India's Environmental Woes

EcoMap India's feature in OHeraldo Goa on 22.June.'14

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