About this good practice
The application represents a modern solution in the processing of environmental violation reports at centralized and coordinated level and enhances public involvement and awareness. It also addresses directly state and local institutions who are responsible for the area in which the infringement took place.
Messages are sent at local level from citizens and organizations to the State Environmental Service (Valsts vides dienests) which forward them to the competent local municipality and local environmental board. All messages sent through the mobile application are managed and stored at central level through the project website www.videssos.lv. The authors of the reports can be contacted if necessary and the infringement procedure can be publicly monitored from its beginning to its end. Citizens can report soil, air, and water pollution, as well as various suspicious activities and significant environmental violations, such as waste, fishing and fishing gear, violations of river and lake protection zones and other environmental risks, by simply downloading the application from App Store and Google Play. "SOS Environment" works with the help of mobile data and GPS signal. Once an environmental violation is identified, it must be photographed, described, and sent to the State Environmental Service (SES).
The application was developed by the company SIA DOT45, basing on the idea of Viesturs Silenieks, environmental activist of the Big Clean-up movement.
The cost of the initiative was 28 686.70 € and it was almost entirely financed by the Latvian Environmental Protection Fund with a contribution of 27 795.00 €. From 2020 to september 2021, a modernisation project took place, financed by the Latvian Environmental Protection Fund.
Evidence of success
69% of reported cases are waste related, while about 18% of total reports are related to air pollution. The number of collected reports is increasing. In 2018, 1751 reports were collected, in 2019 - 2844, in 2020 - 5124 reports were received. 2021 shows a slight decrease of reports, receiving only 3764 reports. This is explained both by the impact of the pandemic on cargo reception in ports and by the fact that after updating the application, each complaint is reviewed before publishing.
Potential for learning or transfer
It is important that the law on pollution is being enforced. This app allowed the general public to get involved in protecting nature and together with the State Environmental service ensure that the future generations get to live in a clean world. It is important to bring the public’s attention this matter and allow them to take a role in protecting the environment.
The app allows the involvement of not only for the citizens but also other governmental institutions who might be able to help certain matters within their own reach. At this point in time, the app has 56 other institutions listed as our partners, though it was downsized due to the recent municipality reform.