Marine Debris Tracker

Marine Debris Tracker

An open data citizen science movement, powered by Morgan Stanley.

Join us in creating a bigger picture of the plastic pollution crisis by downloading the app today and reporting litter wherever you find it, from our oceans to your backyard. SEA-MDI Principle Investigator:
Jenna Jambeck, Assistant Professor of Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Georgia, [email protected]

Lead Software Developer/Programmer:
Kyle Johnsen, Assistant Pro

Operating as usual


Happy Earth Day! There are so many ways to lower our environmental impact. Today, whether you are taking a nature walk, participating in a community cleanup, or organizing a city-wide environmental event, why not track the litter you find along the way?

Your data contributes to our growing database of debris around the world. This data can move oceans– okay not litter-ally– but it can change , increase awareness around , and promote 🌎💙

Happy Earth Day and download the app today to get started!


Did you know that over 500 billion plastic bottles are used every year?

Many single-use plastics like bottles end up in our environment, polluting our oceans, forests, and neighborhoods. In fact, plastic bottles are always among the top five litter items tracked in .

Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, and (if you can’t do the other four) Recycle! Finally, let’s clean up the bottles that are already out in our environment. Let’s get tracking! ♻️🌎


The weather is getting warmer... You know what that means! Community cleanups are upon us!

Download our app to track debris in your area and contribute to our growing citizen science movement. April is .

Your data can help inform everyone–from local environmental organizations to scientists around the world fighting plastic pollution. 🌊🍃


We're kicking off the new year with a new app update! The Android version of Debris Tracker is now supported on Android 13 and 14.


Thanks for featuring us, SciStarter!

SciGirls 705: River Rescuers 18/09/2023

Watch PBS SciGirls episode 705: “River Rescues” to see Debris Tracker in action as Jenny, Hope, Dani, and Amelia collect litter data, host their own river clean up, and encourage other kids to take good care of their local water ways! We love to see citizen science at work, especially when it involves young students taking an active interest in serving their community! Follow the posted link for the full video:

SciGirls 705: River Rescuers In Minnesota, Jenny, Hope, Dani, and Amelia face down pollution on the Mississippi River, and collect data to track plastic pollution in the watershed. The g...

Photos from Marine Debris Tracker's post 06/07/2023

Last week, Debris Tracker director Kathryn had the opportunity to tag along with Prince William Sound Stewardship Foundation on a truly wild cleanup in Alaska’s beautiful Prince William Sound. We tracked buoys, bottles, and fragments, washed up on remote rocky beaches by winter storms.

Get Solutions 05/06/2023

Happy World Environment Day! This year the UN Environment Programme is focusing on solutions to . The plastic pollution crisis is a global problem that requires a global approach. Everyone has a role to play! For useful tips on how governments, businesses, communities, and individuals can all contribute to the global movement to end the plastic crisis, check out UNEP’s practical guide:

Get Solutions This Practical Guide provides some helpful tips on how we can all be part of the global movement to limit waste and transition to a circular economy.


We’ve reached 7 million items logged on Marine Debris Tracker! Citizen science can create incredible change when we unite under a common cause. A huge thank you to everyone who uses Marine Debris Tracker!

Learning Through Citizen Science 13/05/2023

National Geographic created a course called “Learning through Citizen Science” to train educators in how to engage K-12 students in citizen science projects! Check out this link for more information or to sign up:

Learning Through Citizen Science Welcome to Learning Through Citizen Science, a course introducing you to global citizen science and its potential for teaching and learning. You are about to discover how incorporating real-world science into your teaching can benefit you and your students, your local and global communities, an...


Some users have had trouble loading their organization list with our newest update. If the list won't load, try typing an item in the search bar. This seems to reload the items.

We are working on a fix soon!


App not working? We've had a couple reports of trouble opening the app & uploading data, and we are working with our developers to resolve this asap. In the meantime, uninstalling and reinstalling the app seems to be a temporary solution.

Thanks for your patience!

Debris Tracker Field Guides: GeoFencing Data 14/02/2023

Geofencing is an amazing tool to help you sort and analyze data from a specific location. Visit our website or go to our YouTube using the links below to read or watch a tutorial about how to use Marine Debris Tracker’s geofencing feature!

Debris Tracker Field Guides: GeoFencing Data Our new series, Debris Tracker Field Guides, will cover quick tutorials on how to use the Debris Tracker citizen science app and dataset. We're starting with...


The first edition of the Debris Tracker newsletter is here! Read it here:

In this edition:
• see the breakdown of 2022 data
• read about connecting the Ohio River to the ocean with
• learn to geofence data to see local trends
• and check out our new series, Litter(ally).

Ohio River: Earth to Oceans 24/01/2023

In March 2022, two student teams from the University of Georgia spent spring break collecting data along the Ohio River. The goal was to combine data collection by trained researchers and citizen scientists to understand litter density and composition in the Ohio River Valley. Across the surveyed areas, 18,709 items were documented, 82% of which were plastic. The highest average litter density was 2.21 items/m2, the equivalent of walking one lap around a track and seeing 884 pieces of litter. To learn more, read our latest blogpost, “Ohio River: Earth to Oceans” at this link:

Ohio River: Earth to Oceans An open data citizen science project.

Debris Tracker 17/01/2023

Want to stay updated and learn more about Marine Debris Tracker? Use the attached link to sign up for our January Newsletter!

Debris Tracker Debris Tracker Email Forms

NGRREC plans ‘Kids on The River’ film premiere 26/10/2022

Tuesday October 18th the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center screened “Kids on the River”, a short film about 15 high school students exploring the Mississippi watershed in the Swarovski Waterschool.
Students enrolled in the program received a broad range of experiences with the river, from learning about the water cycle, to paddle boarding and canoeing, to collecting water samples to analyze the health of the river. The group also focused on community service, watering trees and picking up litter using Marine Debris Tracker.
The film, produced by Route 3 Film and funded by the Let’s Talk About Water grant, emphasizes the benefits of place-based learning and exploring the natural world.

NGRREC plans ‘Kids on The River’ film premiere The National Great Rivers Research and Education Center (NGRREC) will host the first...

Photos from Marine Debris Tracker's post 07/10/2022

A University of Louisville team surveyed Beargrass Creek, a large Ohio River tributary. Beargrass Creek suffers from heavy litter buildup throughout it’s entirety, and the team wanted to determine litter “hotspots” along the creek and find potential solutions to lessen the environmental burden created by pollution.
They began by using Debris Tracker to log litter along accessible banks on the three forks of the creek and the confluence. They then used this data to identify the hotspots, where the trash is most dense.
The team started brainstorming ideas for solutions with a multi-pronged approach, using multiple strategies to conquer the problem. Students proposed solutions like:
- Litter collecting devices such as those pictured here could be installed to gather floating trash in large quantities.
- Organizing creek cleanups at the identified hotspots would help to remove trash from the creek and educate participants about the issues Beargrass Creek faces through first-hand experience.
- Maintaining Creek monitoring projects will help keep the data about pollution in Beargrass Creek up to date and relevant.
- Raising awareness about how to help and why Beargrass Creek is so important helps to gather the community around this issue.
- Taking steps to prevent surface runoff, like using gravel in your driveway instead of asphalt and protecting your trees, helps keep litter on land and out of the creek.
Thank you to our friends at the University of Louisville for using Debris Tracker, and for moving data towards solutions!


Join our friends at the Waste Commission of Scott County for their Xstream Cleanup!

Want to make a difference in our community? Sign up for a Last Stop: The Ocean event on October 15 through Xstream Cleanup! To prevent litter from entering our waterways, volunteers will clean up along waterways and use Marine Debris Tracker to track their findings. Learn more at


We have been spotlighted by Google Play on ! We are excited to be one of 3 apps selected to represent Georgia.


Some big changes on the horizon!

We know a lot of you have been having issues uploading data, and we're so sorry for the trouble. Our development team has been working around the clock, and we're happy to let you know that our newest update for iPhone is live.

If you have saved sessions you were unable to upload, follow these steps to submit your data:

1. Go to the App Store (iPhone)
2. Update "Marine Debris Tracker" app (version v5.5.6)
3. Wait for update to install
4. Open the app; your saved sessions will still be there!
5. Sign Out using the "Sign Out" text at bottom of the Home Screen
6. Login using the same account credentials
7. Users will then be able to upload ALL of their saved sessions!

Android update coming soon!

Thank you for your patience and support as we continue to grow and improve.

- The Marine Debris Tracker Team

Want your school to be the top-listed School/college?

Videos (show all)

Our strangest find on a marine debris cleanup in Alaska's Prince William Sound... The ocean always delivers!