Research News

AIR Scientists Harness Ground Penetrating Radar and Transient Electromagnetic Technology for Environmental Litigation Investigation

Dec 17, 2023

A collaborative effort involving China’s procuratorate agencies tasked with environmental litigations at national, municipal, and district levels, in conjunction with the Key Laboratory of Electromagnetic Radiation and Detection Technology at the Aerospace Information Research Institute (AIR) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), witnessed the application of electromagnetic technology in the investigation of an environmental public interest litigation case, marking the pioneering use of its kind in the country.

The case involved an illegally dumped construction waste site in Daxing District, Beijing. Due to the large and concealed nature of the dump, conventional visual inspection methods proved inadequate for determining the depth, location, and composition of the buried waste. To address this challenge, technical experts from the Beijing Municipal Procuratorate's Technology Center collaborated with researchers from AIR to employ their proprietary ground-penetrating radar (GPR) and transient electromagnetic (TEM) technology.

The GPR and TEM technology allowed for the detection and precise location of buried materials beneath the surface. The joint efforts resulted in the acquisition of underground detection data covering an area of nearly 5000 square meters. Subsequently, the acquired GPR data were processed to generate a radar image depicting the underground targets in the investigated area.

This investigation marks the first-ever application of GPR and TEM technology by procuratorial authorities in China for on-site inspection of environmental damage in public interest litigation cases. The innovative use of these technologies provides a new investigative approach and a valuable tool for procuratorial authorities in addressing ecological and environmental damage cases.

The successful application of ground-penetrating radar and transient electromagnetic technology not only facilitates the resolution of the current case but also opens new avenues for the use of advanced scientific methods in environmental litigation.