By Jachin Jane O. Aberilla, DOST-STII
Citizens can now report environmental issues and concerns through a mobile application called ‘MASDAN’. MASDAN is a platform for citizen science to map and monitor the water quality of Manila Bay and other similar areas in the country.
In 2020, the University of the Philippines- Training Center for Applied Geodesy and Photogrammetry and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) launched a two-year program in response to the need for technological interventions concerning the rehabilitation and sustainability of the Manila Bay area dubbed, “IM4ManilaBay”.
MASDAN mobile app is one of the outputs of the Development of an Integrated Mapping, Monitoring, and Analytical Network System for Manila Bay and Linked Environments project or MApABLE, one of the four projects of the IM4ManilaBay Program.
What is Citizen Science
“Everything is mappable. We want to enable mapping and monitoring of the environment using geo-spatial technology such as remote sensing, surveying, graphic report systems, and other related technologies as well as citizen science.” said the IM4ManilaBay Program project leader, Dr. Ariel C. Blanco.
According to National Geographic, citizen science is the practice of public participation and collaboration in scientific research to increase scientific knowledge. Through citizen science, people share and contribute to data monitoring and collection programs. Usually, this participation is done by unpaid volunteers.
“Through citizen science, everyone has a role to play. We want to enable them to contribute towards generating actionable information.” Blanco added.
How to use the app
Jomer Medina, Senior Science Research Specialist of Project MapAble, demonstrated the framework of MASDAN. Users would have to register first and fill out the user profile form on the app. After which, users can now submit a narrative on an environmental issue or concern, its location, and accompanying photos as evidence. Users can also pin the exact location of the issue on a map. In the meantime, the app can only accept photos, not videos.
Concerned citizens can report the following environmental issues:
· algal bloom
· fish kill
· water pollution
· water hyacinth
· ongoing reclamation
· solid waste
Once a report is submitted, it goes through a server where it can be directly accessible to appropriate national government agencies, state universities, and colleges, higher education institutions, local government units, civil service societies, and citizens. Through the app, concerned agencies can take action on the reports submitted by the users.
MASDAN app is not only meant for Manila Bay concerns, citizens can also report issues in the Laguna lake area and other areas in the Philippines.
What is it in for the users
“Ang pangangalaga sa kalikasan ay responsibilidad ng bawat isa. Dahil sa partisipasyon ng publiko sa pangangalap at pagbabahagi ng datos at impormasyon, nagiging matibay ang ugnayan sa pagitan ng publiko at eksperto. Nagiging mabilis na pagsasagawa ng pag-aaral at nagkakaroon ng konteksto dahil sa input ng mga mamamayan,” Medina highlighted.
Dr. Enrico C. Paringit, executive director of the DOST-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technologies Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) expressed his appreciation to the project team for making this innovative mobile application, MASDAN.
“I encourage citizens to actively participate and become more informed on Manila Bay’s conditions thus becoming more empowered and more aware. Let’s partake in this opportunity to contribute, share knowledge, and exchange views”, Dr. Paringit added.
Let’s do our share and be a ‘mapaBler’ now and download the MASDAN app on Google play. (S&T Media Service)