MICRO: What practices produce (or undercut) civic data work and capacity in this setting? How are data gaps worked around? Is citizen science encouraged or supported, for example?


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June 7, 2021

How are Data Gaps Worked Around:

Sarnia, and the surrounding area around chemical valley, have 9 air monitoring stations in which air pollutants are monitored from the nearby petrochemical complex. Until 2017, only data from one of these stations (the one on Christina Street in downtown Sarnia) was publicly available. This created a gap in accessiblility of important data for sarnia and the nearby AFN residents. In September 2015, the Clean Air Sarnia and Area group launched as a "community advisory panel made up of representatives from the public, government, First Nations, and industry, who are dedicated to providing the community with a clear understanding of ambient air quality in the Sarnia area." This group works to improve air quality in Sarnia by making information about air quality publicly available and by making recommendations to relevant authorities. In 2018, this group launched the website: https://reporting.cleanairsarniaandarea.com/ (also uploaded as an artifact) which allows public to access data from the air quality monitoring stations and understand how air quality compares to Ontario's standards. This site works to fill the gap of publicly available air quality data in Sarnia.

Tim Schütz's picture
April 22, 2021

Formosa Plastics publishes a quarterly newspaper called 親親報報 Qin Qin bao (engl. kiss kiss hug). A group of citizen journalists by the Taiwan Environmental Information Center and the initative FPCC Go Away have criticized the newspaper for different attempts of greenwashing (Wu 2015). The newspaper issues include arguments guaranteeing the safety of the 6th Napthha cracker's emissions, interrogrations of research about high PM 2.5 levels in the county and statements about supposed local population growth.

A 2012 blog entry by FPCC Go Away analysis the distribution and publication practices of the newspaper. Notably, the authors point out that an issue of the newspaper addressing PM 2.5 levels was re-published and distributed in the days leading up to a public speech by Prof. Zhan Chang-quan (Department of Public Health at National Taiwan University) who had studied air pollution in the county.