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Sensing for Justice - Citizen Sensing as a source of evidence in environmental justice litigation and as a tool for environmental mediation

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 891513

Status

Grant agreement signed

  • Start date

    16 September 2020

  • End date

    15 September 2022

Funded under:

H2020-EU.1.3.2.

  • Overall budget:

    € 171 473,28

  • EU contribution

    € 171 473,28

Coordinated by:

JRC -JOINT RESEARCH CENTRE- EUROPEAN COMMISSION

Belgium

Objective

On June 27, 2019, a landmark court decision was released in Texas, in which a judge found the petrochemical company Formosa Plastics Corporation, liable for violating the Clean Water Act because of plastic discharge into local waters. The case was brought by a civic group based in part on citizen sensed-evidence which involved volunteer observations performed over years. This practice entailing grassroots-driven environmental monitoring could be qualified as ‘Citizen Science’ and, more specifically, ‘Citizen Sensing’. The contamination could not be proved through existing data held by competent authorities since the company never filed any record of pollution with the competent authority. Rather, the monitoring and data collection was almost entirely conducted by local residents.
Cases such as the Formosa litigation are expected to increase drastically. They pose urgent research questions. Above all, the case motivates an investigation of the potential of introducing Citizen Sensing as a source of evidence in litigation over environmental wrongdoings. Furthermore, Citizen Sensing may also play a role in avoiding the court stage, as a tool to mediate the environmental conflict and to steer the responsible company to adopt an environmentally-compliant behaviour.
Related research is still in its infancy. The few championing actors in the debate are located in the U.S., not flanked by a parallel inquiry from the European perspective. The key objective of the Sensing for Justice project is to fill this knowledge gap in order to avoid a possible scientific and legislative vacuum, and provide newly required research capacity in the EU. The research will be hosted by the European Commission Joint Research Centre, currently leading actor in the research on Citizen Science for environmental monitoring and reporting, which will allow me to play a crucial role in the enactment of measures to release Citizen Science for litigation and mediation’s potential across the EU.

Coordinator

JRC -JOINT RESEARCH CENTRE- EUROPEAN COMMISSION

Address

Rue De La Loi 200
1049 Brussels

Belgium

Activity type

Research Organisations

EU Contribution

€ 171 473,28

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 891513

Status

Grant agreement signed

  • Start date

    16 September 2020

  • End date

    15 September 2022

Funded under:

H2020-EU.1.3.2.

  • Overall budget:

    € 171 473,28

  • EU contribution

    € 171 473,28

Coordinated by:

JRC -JOINT RESEARCH CENTRE- EUROPEAN COMMISSION

Belgium