Venezuela’s Environment Ministry announced this week that it will create a registry of the country’s primary sources of air pollution using Geographic Information System (GIS) technology.
The function of the registry will be “to generate computerized maps that allow us to geographically locate the stationary sources of contaminative gasses that exist in the national territory in order to clarify our strategies for environmental supervision”, according to a press release by the Ministry.
In addition to recording the location and contaminative impact of facilities linked to the oil industry, the Ministry seeks to map out incinerators, cement factories, major manufacturers of sugar and metals, crematoriums, and garbage dump sites.
The Ministry said that in addition to making advancements in its use of satellite technology, it seeks to improve access to this technology by carrying out community-level educational workshops and by incorporating local democratic decision-making entities called communal councils into GIS projects.
Venezuela took a technological step forward in the end of 2008 when it launched its first satellite, the “Simon Bolivar”, with the assistance of experts from the Chinese Academy of Space Technology.
The satellite is managed by the state-owned telecommunications company, CANTV, and it shares Uruguay’s orbit as the result of an agreement between the Venezuelan and Uruguayan governments.
Venezuela has used the satellite to expand public access to telecommunications, including a 20% increase in Internet connections over the past year, as well as to enhance public medical services and promote Latin American integration.
Also, more than one thousand Venezuelans have studied satellite technology in higher education programs in China, India, Brazil, and France as the result of bilateral accords with those countries.
Public universities including the National Experimental University of the Armed Forces (UNEFA) and the Bolivarian University of Venezuela (UBV) have incorporated GIS workshops into their respective curriculums.
Over the past three years, Chinese and Venezuelan experts in conjunction with the Bolivarian Agency for Space Activity have been drawing up blueprints for the construction of a satellite factory in Venezuela scheduled tentatively for the year 2013.
These projects are based on the government’s policy of transitioning toward “technological sovereignty” and ending the nation’s dependence on advanced technologies produced outside of Venezuela and Latin America.