Become a Citizen Scientist and submit data to OpenLitterMap 

There are many people in Ireland that volunteer their time and energy to pick up litter in our town. But despite their best efforts, there still is litter in many places all over the country. But just how much is there?

31 year-old Cork-born entrepreneur Seán Lynch has developed a tool to help us not just clear the litter, but to learn lessons from it: “Picking up litter is fantastic, but if picking up is all we do that is all we’re ever going to do.”

Seán’s idea has been to use the power of citizen science to help not just clear the litter, but collect data too.  

Picking up litter is great for the status-quo. It allows businesses to continue dumping litter,” he says. If we want to educate society on how prevalent plastic and litter pollution is, the only way to do it is with storytelling maps and open data that anyone can access, including the local authorities, so we can fix this once and for all.” 

– Seán Lynch, OpenLitterMap

He has developed a website and app, inviting people to register information about litter in their communities. The site and data are open-source, meaning the information can be accessed and used by anyone: anyone can become a citizen scientist.

Inputting the data is very simple: geographical information is automatically registered when the user takes a photo of the litter, using their mobile phone. The data is added to the open source database, where it can be accessed by citizens, companies and local authorities, so that anti-litter measures can be targeted to address the biggest problems.

Why should we collect data?

1. Visibility: So many of us have gotten so used to seeing litter in the town, that we have almost stopped seeing it. Illustrating the issue through the use of interactive maps makes it easier to show just how big a problem littering is.

2. Problem solving: By contributing data to a global, freely accessible database, we can help scientists, companies and government authorities devise strategies that are more effective in dealing with, and preventing, litter. 

3. Community: By getting everyone involved with the fight against litter and pollution, we can help change minds and attitudes, and protect our natural environment better.

How does it work?

1. Take a photo

Your mobile phone can capture valuable information about the location, time, object, material and brand.

2. Tag the litter

Just tag what litter you see in the photo. You can tag if the litter has been picked up or if it’s still there. What is important to note is that you don’t have to do this on the spot: the mobile phone has already recorded the important geo-information. You can tag and upload your photos anytime, so your litter pick is not slowed down!

3. Share your results

Share the maps or download our data, via 

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