GIS technologies help volunteers in an environmental conservation project

Advanced GIS solutions support the participants in the sixth edition of Bulgaria largest voluntary initiative.

Sofia, 7 June 2016г. – Over 8,000 volunteers took part in Bulgaria national clean-up campaign in 2016., show the results of “Let’s clean Bulgaria together” project. According to the Bulgaria Ministry of Environment and Water and bTV, the indiscriminate dumping of refuse continues to decline over the years. Despite this more than 1,300 illegal dumpsters are removed and the total amount of the collected waste is about 5,000 tonnes.

Volunteers of all ages made Bulgaria nature cleaner by joining the largest voluntary environmental initiative in the country on the eve of Wolrd Environment Day. They were supported by  ESRI Bulgaria team who developed custom mobile GIS applications for both Android and Windows Phones. Regardless of their location, the participants cloud submit information and upload  photos of the cleaned-up areas via smartphones.

Web GIS application with a mobile version for iOS was developed for the needs of the campaign. The app allowed participants to submit additional information such as the number of volunteers, location, type and size of cleaned-up areas via web. In turn, special back-office GIS system was developed so that the organisers cloud review and validate the information provided by volunteers.

A key point of the campaign was the use of ArcGIS products for the preparation of reports and spatial analysis. For the purpose of the campaign ESRI Bulgaria provided statistical information about the number of cleaned-up areas by the municipalities in Bulgaria; according to the type of participants. Also analytical data for areas needed least cleaning and those with the greatest cleansed territory. This form of presenting data became a valuable tool in the results`reporting and useful mean for better planning.

This year’s campaign focused on protected areas in Bulgaria which are extremely valuable in terms of biodiversity conservation. These areas are dear to all of us.” said Ivelina Vasileva, Minister of Environment and Water. That is why over 150 of all cleaning actions were held outside the territory of the urban areas.

BTV special analysis

The statistics from the web application shows a record number of cleared areas this year. Over 1,200 acres have been cleaned on the day of the initiative and the total number of marked areas is more than 380. Traditionally Sofia, Veliko Tarnovo, Varna and Burgas municipalities have the largest cleaned areas. This year significant contribution to the generally positive results have also the  volunteers from Haskovo, Smolyan, Pazardzhik and Vidin municipality.

bTV commented the results of the campaign: “With the collection of more than 82,000 tonnes of waste the volunteers in the” Let’s clean Bulgaria together ” project have saved nearly 180 million euros and about 24 years of operation of the institutions.