Our everyday life has become dynamic. The rapid development of science and technology is changing the way we work and create life around us. Services and opportunities that did not exist a few decades ago are now an integral part of our daily lives. Now with a couple of clicks we can conveniently order food remotely, we practically no longer use printed documents at work, we order services online and organize documents electronically, while if a service is performed in person, we can stand in line for it remotely as well. At first, this transition from the usual to the new may seem challenging and require effort, but with time it becomes self-evident and necessary.
In 2022, the State Environmental Service, in cooperation with State limited Liability Company “Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Center” (LEGMC), launched a project* that will introduce significant changes in the data circulation of polluted sites – within the project, the previous registration of polluted sites and the circulation of information in the form of printed documents will be replaced by a comprehensive polluted site digitalization of information and data submission, verification and acceptance process. Currently, information about contaminated sites is stored in the Register of Contaminated and Potentially Contaminated Sites, which was created 20 years ago, as well as in the archive of the State Geological Foundation, which is under the control of LEGMC.
The archive of the State Geological Foundation stores valuable information accumulated over time, such as reports on the use of subsoil, materials of geological research works and documentation of subsoil use. To achieve the goal of the project, the State Environmental Service has started work to digitize information. When digitizing data, special attention is paid to the quality of data entry and geospatial data on contaminated sites. The circulation and use of information in the development of new projects between different institutions and systems allows to maintain continuity so that the next steps taken in the direction of development turns out to be even better and better.
As a result of the project, everyone will benefit – residents, who will be able to easily find out information about polluted sites in the immediate vicinity, and users of the information system, who will be able to easily update data. Likewise, the digitized information will be available and useful for the entire Latvian society – territory owners, their neighbors, local governments, state institutions, as well as territory planners and developers, surveyors, and remediation workers.
The information on the currently existing polluted places is collected in 2003‑2004 – when contaminated and potentially contaminated places throughout Latvia were identified and registered for the first time. Since then, the registry has undergone periodic improvements, such as the ability to add research materials to place records and to enter data for different user groups, as well as to improve the quality of data display. The register includes 3603 places as of today. This number of registered sites is variable and relative to the distribution of sites into categories (contaminated, potentially contaminated and non-contaminated sites).
The existing process of managing contaminated sites is complex and time-consuming and requires a lot of administrative resources. The existing management model is based on the circulation of paper documents, which only provides for the registration of the final result in the register, therefore the process is not transparent, transparent and accessible to all interested parties.
By developing the new digital management model of contaminated sites, a modern, efficient, convenient and accessible system will be created, which will provide up‑to‑date data and modern information circulation.
*In April 2022, within the framework of the Climate and Environment Programme of Norway Grants managed by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development, a nationally important project was launched – “Digital transformation of the contaminated site management model”, implemented by the State Environmental Service together with Latvian partner – State limited Liability Company “Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Center”.
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