News

Mobile Apps and Marine Debris

 Mobile Apps for combating Marine Debris

Mobile applications have the power to turn your phone into a handy pocket-sized tool for fighting marine debris.

Data on types and quantity of marine debris sighted in the ocean and on beaches is important to better understand where and how to implement waste mitigation programs to have the highest positive impact. Africa is particularly data poor in this regard, and gaining information of this nature would be useful to inform waste programs and policy on the continent.

In an interview for Scientific American, Alex Mayer, a civil and environmental engineering professor at Michigan Technological University, said, “Smartphones can automate data collection and incorporate many important data-gathering functions—such as capturing images, audio and text—into a single tool that can “stamp” the date, time and geographic coordinates associated with an observation.”

As smart phone use becomes increasingly ubiquitous, a variety of mobile apps have been developed to take advantage of the abundance of potential citizen scientists who could collect vital data. These apps enable the general public to record and report data on pollution while conducting a beach clean, diving for debris, or encountering waste dumps on their daily commute. By harnessing the power of the general public, databases can be collectively built that amount to informing real change.

The following is a list of 6 well-known marine debris mobile apps. All are free and most are available for download on both Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

Marine Debris Tracker (NOAA & South Atlantic Marine Debris Initiative)

   

The product of a collaboration between NOAA and SEA-MDI, this app seeks to spread awareness and serve as an easy and simple tool for data collection. Users “check in” when they encounter marine debris and categorise the waste type using the app’s lists of commonly found debris. The app also includes relevant tools for the sailing community, and will soon allow increased customisation of specific lists of debris for tracking. As much marine debris tracking occurs in remote locations, the app can also log data and store it for upload later when cell signal is available. Data is kept and analysed by the University of Georgia. Read more...


Clean Swell (Ocean Conservancy)

    

CleanSwell, developed by Ocean Conservancy, let’s you create an account to record the items of trash you collect, as well as other motivating stats including your total distance cleaned and the total weight of the trash collected. The app also allows you to share your clean up results via Facebook, Twitter and email. Read more...

TrashOut (Let’s Do It! World)

   
Let’s Do It! World’s TrashOut lets users contribute to an online world waste map by anonymously reporting trash piles and illegal dump sites using GPS to pinpoint locations. Users estimate the size and type of waste with methods detailed in the app, and then upload the information with a photograph of the site. Read more...

Dive Against Debris (Project AWARE)

   
This recently released app is targeted towards SCUBA divers, allowing them to report debris items removed on a dive along with the dive location, dive conditions, presence of entangled and deceased wildlife, and any necessary photographs. Information can be stored and uploaded when cell connection is available and the data collected becomes part of a global database that is shared with the Global Ghost Gear Initiative and Trash Free Seas Alliance via Partnerships Against Trash. Your dive results can also be shared on social media via the app. Read more...

Marine LitterWatch (European Environment Agency)

   
This app is focussed on the European continent and has been developed to target communities interested in marine litter activities. You can find and join already existing communities in your area or create a new one. The app allows for the creation of surveys on litter items found at beach environments and information collected is stored on a public database hosted by the EEA. Read more...

Marine Defenders App (Marine Defenders)

    
The Marine Defenders App allows users to report oil spills and marine debris. Reports are sent to the database and uploaded onto an interactive Google map. Oil spill reports are sent to the US National Response Centre who in turn informs the US Coast Guard to take action. Read more...
(Only available from the Apple App Store)

AMWN on Wits Science Inside Radio Show

Published: 13-09-2017

Dr Holly Nel and Tatjana Baleta of the African Marine Waste Network were interviewed by Wits “Science Inside” radio show in light of the recent plastic bag ban in Kenya. The show ... Read more

Sylvia Earle, SST patron, features on cover of TIM…

Published: 29-08-2017

Dr Sylvia Earle is name that for many needs no contextualising. An oceanographer, explorer, author and conservationist, she is known the world over as an icon of the ocean and am... Read more

News from the AMW Conference

Published: 14-07-2017

“Waste is a human problem. There is no waste in nature.” With these words Dr Sylvia Earle gave the keynote address at the inaugural African Marine Waste Conference last week in P... Read more

Boaz sets sail for Port Elizabeth

Published: 26-06-2017

And they’re off! The yacht Boaz set sail from Gordon’s Bay, Cape Town this Monday morning at 5:30am on high tide in good conditions. The yacht is due to arrive in P.E. on the 8th... Read more

Gabon announces creation of largest marine reserve…

Published: 15-06-2017

An eel slithers through coral patches off an oil platform in Gabon. Photograph by Enric Sala, National Geographic Creative   Last Monday Gabon lead the way for Africa and... Read more

Cellphone apps and GIS: A response to data deficie…

Published: 15-06-2017

Plastic is a revolutionary material. Nowadays it’s found nearly everywhere; from the containers keeping our food fresh, to the clothes we wear, to everyday home and office suppli... Read more

PETCO launches the Communications Hub for AMWN

Published: 07-06-2017

  SST is proud to announce that PETCO is generously sponsoring the PETCO Communications Hub of the African Marine Waste Network (AMWN), which has just been  launched.&... Read more

New Partnership with DPaPP

Published: 23-05-2017

 SST and the AMWN are excited to announce a new partnership with DPPAP. Establishing the Network means starting right here on our very own coastline: East to West and beyon... Read more

Do One Thing (DOT) Challenge

Published: 15-02-2017

Braam Malherbe together with rowing partner Wayne Robertson, set off on their epic 6700km unassisted rowing expedition to Rio de Janeiro, launching the DOT (Do One Thing) Challen... Read more

Buli G Ngomane

Published: 31-01-2017

TV Presenter on SABC 3's "The Power Within", Buli G has a prime-time radio presenting career in the Eastern Cape and Gauteng under her belt and is currently the Communications Exec... Read more

My Waste

Published: 13-01-2017

So you've decided to "go green." You've replaced your regular light bulbs with energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs and purchased recycling bins. You've even organised ... Read more

2017 Conference - New Speakers Announced!

Published: 08-12-2016

Sustainable Seas Trust and the African Marine Waste Network are excited to announce that Sylvia Earle, Jenna Jambeck, Kristian Teleki, Nancy Wallace, Hayley McLellan, Willemijn P... Read more

Unseen Danger: The Truth About Microplastics

Published: 25-11-2016

Images of plastic debris choking estuarine systems or spreading insidiously across the surface of the sea are commonly used to represent the issue of marine pollution - and for goo... Read more

Silence of the Sharks

Published: 08-06-2016

Concerned ocean users voice their support for the Silence of the Sharks underwater protest Read more

Concerned ocean

Published: 08-06-2016

Concerned ocean users voice their support for the Silence of the Sharks underwater protest Endorsed by UGU South Coast Tourism, the biggest underwater protest ever held in South A... Read more