Launched in 2017, Litterati is a mobile app that encourages local pollution clean-up. Developed by Jeff Kirschner, the inspiration behind Litterati came following a walk in the woods with his young daughter in 2015, who came across a plastic bag and rightfully noted that it didn’t belong there. Kirschner began snapping pictures of litter and posting them with the hashtag #litterati on social media. Before he knew it, individuals from all over the world were snapping and sharing their litter photographs. Realizing the power within these photographs, Kirschner decided to translate them into data points, creating a global litter map. The Litterati app itself streamlines the sharing and data collection, thereby turning regular users into citizen scientists. Users simply need to snap a photo of the litter, which is automatically geo-tagged and identified using their machine learning component, LitterAI. The Litterati app also allows users to challenge friends, as well as track personal user clean-up contributions. All of the data collected is made open source. While it is encouraged that users discard the litter, there is no accountability mechanism on the app that exists to ensure proper disposal.

Typhina, E. (2015, November). “Designing eco-apps to engage adult learners“.


Citizen Science, Data, Pollution, Psychology