United Nations
Global Alert - Reporting Trash Hotspots
by Ocean Recovery Alliance (Non-governmental organization (NGO))
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.

Critical Need

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.
Progress reports
By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution
Type of commitment
  • Other (please specify): Reduce flow of trash from rivers, creeks and outflows
  • Coastal clean-ups:
  • Plastics recovery/recycling/reuse:
  • The Global Alert platform and app helps to focus communities on plastic pollution that may make its way to the water, to improve prevention via the use of booms, nets and catchment devices.
Groups in over 20 countries to be using the Global Alert platform for their benefit to report trash hotspots
Over 50 watershed or coastal areas to be reported on for better waste management reduction
In-kind contribution
Offering of the Global Alert app and platform to the global community for use
In-kind contribution
Training and outreach to communities to understand the value of using the Global Alert platform and app
Basic information
Time-frame: 4/2017 - 12/25
Clinton Global Initiative project (NGO), World Bank (donor), Marfund (NGO), Ecolayers (partner), Charleston Waterkeeper (NGO)
Ocean Basins
  • Global
Beneficiary countries
Other beneficaries
All countries, watersheds and coastal communities can benefit from this commitment.
Contact information
Doug Woodring, Founder, doug@oceanrecov.org, 415-481-9452
Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region of China
Other SDGs
United Nations