Clean Swell

There is a massive amount of plastic pollution piling up in the world’s waterways, worldwide. In order for such pollution to be combated, citizens need to become involved and governments need to be able to see where plastic pollution is a particular issue. The mobile app Clean Swell encourages beachgoers to snap pictures of their favourite beaches or inland waterways polluted with litter, as well as pictures of their cleanup, and share them on their social media networks with family and friends. Ocean Conservancy, an ocean conservation non-profit, created Clean Swell in 2016 and specifically wanted to create a sense of a global movement, especially as public awareness was starting to become more conscientious of ocean pollution. People around the world who clean up their beaches not only share pictures but can also input data on how many pounds or pieces of plastic they picked up on a given beach, as well as give a breakdown of the type of items collected, such as cigarette butts, styrofoam pellets, or plastic bags. The pictures, as well as the submitted information, are geotagged and added to a database kept by the Nature Conservancy on ocean pollution and cleanup efforts. The database appears to be available to researchers and policymakers at request to help inform decision making and better research plans, so the app goes beyond simply increasing ecological consciousness. This app doesn’t address the key sources of ocean pollution, such as illegal dumping, but it is a way for awareness to grow and for action against pollution to be taken.


Biodiversity, Citizen Science, Data, Monitoring, Pollution, Psychology