iPhone App Tracks Marine Litter, Reports It Online

marine debris tracker image

Image via Marine Debris Tracker

Marine litter is a real problem, not just for animals but for beach goers trying to enjoy an afternoon in the sun and surf. A new smart phone app from NOAA helps you become part of the solution, by reporting where you're seeing marine litter pile up on beaches, waterways, and rivers. The free Marine Debris Tracker app is built by University of Georgia and NOAA as a way to use crowdsourcing to see where litter is piling up.

The app, available for both Android and iPhone, lets users report the type of debris, and the location is noted using the smart phone's GPS. The data is posted on the Marine Debris Tracker website. And of course, the people who report the litter are encouraged to clear it and properly recycle or dispose of it.

The purpose of the app is to both track where marine litter is occurring, and also encourage people to litter less both along waterways and in general. But most importantly, the developers are hoping that the app can help city officials decide on better ways to handle marine trash -- perhaps by placing more recycling and trash bins in areas where litter is piling up, or maybe even work on tracing the trash back to its source and stopping the problem there.

"If you are noticing marine debris, you are also much less likely to litter," says Jenna Jambeck, one of the team members behind the creation of the app. "While this app collects data, one of its primary goals is to educate the public about marine debris and its harmful impacts."

h/t @CarolHink
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