Show Details

Marine Debris Tracker

February 20, 2015

A smartphone app allows citizen scientists to track litter that makes its way into our waterways.



MarineDebrisTracker on Twitter Beta version of cluster map on @DebrisTracker site. Filter by date or see all the data, zoom in and out, explore

The Marine Debris Tracker maps litter data. (Marine Debris Tracker/Twitter)

An app for tracking plastic pollution. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Citizen scientists help researchers by recording weather conditions, tracking bird migrations, and even identifying galaxies. Now, through the Marine Debris Tracker program, they’re helping to track trash. University of Georgia researcher Jenna Jambeck says that members of the public can help scientists identify sources of plastic pollution by downloading the Marine Debris Tracker app and using it along river and coastal areas.

JENNA JAMBECK (University of Georgia):

We have a large community, we’ve had about 12,000 downloads and we have really dedicated users in various environments and it’s being used by citizen scientists and just casual beach goers as well.


While the program isn’t comprehensive enough to study plastic pollution globally, it can help regional and community organizations study pollution and identify ways to keep it out of waterways and oceans. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.