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Crowdsource clean up: Mapping illegal dumpsites

Mapping illegal dumpsites, litter and plastic pollution is a method that allows individuals to be environmental activists.

Mapping sites where illegal dumping, litter or plastic pollution is a problem brings a dirty secret into the public forum. It not only documents location, type and amount of materials but it helps to organize logistics for clean up. Mapping helps track reoccurring issues, and also it helps us to analyse the causes of waste not being disposed or recycled properly. Mapping also shows the real extent of the problem.

TrashOut is a smartphone app that enables users to actively take part in documenting the illegal dumps by uploading pictures and GPS data, which can then be verified and reported to the appropriate local authorities. It is an app used by Let’sDo It Movement and it is a tool to create a global map of illegal dumpsites.

Comox -Strathcona Waste Management Service (Comox Valley Regional District) as a means of engaging citizens to combat illegal dumping have created a facebook page “Keep Our Region Beautiful” and encourage citizens to download the TrashOut app to their phones.

To use the TrashOut app first the app can be downloaded to a cell phone and then report or confirm illegal dumpsite in your region. While mapping you don’t even need reception. Once the location of the garbage is mapped, it will be possible for us to see the locations, type, and size of the most troubling dumping areas around the world. Illegal dumpsite pictures that contain people, personal information or car registration may be rejected or blurred. TrashOut, also recommends that you share our pictures on facebook and twitter.

Litterati is mapping litter around the world and the types of litter. Geotags pinpoint the pieces of litter worldwide. An app can be downloaded through itunes. They call this crowdsource cleaning of the planet.

The Global Microplastics Initiative  enlist citizen volunteers  to take water samples while having outdoor adventures including hiking, snowboarding and canoeing. Adventure Scientists is the nonprofit organization collecting data for The Global Microplastics Initiative. Their mission is includes recruiting and training individuals with strong outdoor skills so that they can bring back hard to obtain data from far corners of the globe. The “adventurers” then become informed ambassadors as they retell the stories of their experiences.

The purpose of The Global Microplastics Initiative is to build one of the largest, most geographically diverse data sets on microplastic pollution to date.  In addition to publication in a scientific journal, this work will be used to inform decision makers about the realities of microplastic pollution globally, offer insights which may guide and inspire innovative solutions from individuals and corporations, and can be built upon by future research.

Taking part in global environmental actions is getting easier.