Challenging Air Pollution: Exploring Community Pollution Surveillance in Taiwan
(National Chengchi University)
Paper short abstract:
This paper explores how lay people have participated in knowledge production of air monitoring, and how STSers have intervened to introduce the citizen science methods to create a more just and democratic form of air governance.
Paper long abstract:
The air pollution issues have become one of the top concerns in Taiwan. Although people may feel the deterioration of the environmental quality, the pollution sources often cannot be identified due to the complexity of the air pollution problems and the scientific monitoring capabilities. The government or the suspected polluters use the scientific uncertainty claim as well as needing more evaluation, investigation, studies, etc., to deflect the people's pollution related inquiries. Unsatisfied with the government's passive responses, the citizen groups in Taiwan have asked the government to reveal the real-time air monitoring data and promote the air quality flag program in elementary schools. Some local communities have formed self-help organizations and partnered with the experts to develop low cost air monitoring devices. This paper explores how lay people, including social movement groups, have participated in knowledge production by integrating their observation and experiences into the scientific practices of air monitoring. The discussions particularly address the emerging community pollution surveillance to showcase how the local people have produced, interpreted, and applied science to respond to the challenges of community risks. In this paper, the researcher further examines how STSers have intervened to introduce the citizen science methods and facilitated the dialogues among citizen groups, local residents, public officials, and experts in order to create a more just and democratic form of air governance. In conclusion, we discuss the potentials and limitations of the community science practices in Taiwan and the direction of institutional design that enables technoscience democracy and justice.
Science and Technology for Social Justice