Each year, roughly 8 million tons of plastic enters the ocean, damaging marine and coastal ecosystems. Global Alert is a new platform which provides an innovative scalable solution that will engage, empower, and change the behavior of hundreds of communities globally to make collective improvements in reducing plastic waste that makes its way to the ocean.
Healthy marine and coastal ecosystems support all life on earth and provide necessary services, including food security, resources for economic growth, recreation and tourism, all of which can hinder or benefit the welfare of the coastline itself. The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) has estimated that over 80% of marine debris starts out on land. From there it makes its way into the lakes, rivers and streams that form an extensive network—a circulatory system—that can carry trash across continents and straight into the heart of the world’s ocean. Floating trash has no geographic or political boundaries, so solutions must involve scalable international collaboration, yet be local in scope and reach.
To address the problem of increasing marine debris flowing to our ocean, Ocean Recovery Alliance has created the Global Alert platform at the Clinton Global Initiative, as an innovative, online tool and mobile app which allows users to report, rate and map plastic pollution levels in their rivers, along ocean coastlines, and even underwater on reefs. This broadens awareness, aggregates information for decision-making, and spurs solutions to reduce plastic debris outflows via the world’s rivers or accumulation on coastlines. Global Alert accomplishes this goal by addressing a number of issues that include:
∙ Enabling community participation for reporting and problem solving
∙ Catalyzing active watershed stewardship focusing on rivers
∙ Providing global awareness and monitoring
By visualizing trash hot-spots on a map, along with being able to learn about best practices for cleanup and prevention programs, community groups can develop better recycling programs and plastic management strategies, ultimately leading to less floating trash making its way to the ocean. Using Global Alert, citizens and school groups will easily “See, Share and Solve” their floating trash problem.
Community reporting and engagement by municipal governments, universities or other stakeholders can use the geotagged data for their own outreach and improved management of waste reduction, cleanup and prevention in their communities. It is up to each group to make use of this globally provided tool, for their own use and benefit.