Last weekend our virtual voyage crew headed out to their local areas to conduct a waste management survey. From the Tonga leg, 11 crew members registered to take part in the remote clean-up from seven different countries across the globe.

Infographic on litter survey

Recording their litter on the Marine Debris Tracker App, 933 pieces of plastic debris were picked up collectively by our crew, with plastic food packaging, hard plastic fragments and cigarettes amongst the most commonly picked up kinds of plastic. The Marine Debris Tracker mobile app, originating in 2010, is a joint initiative between the NOAA Marine Debris Program and the Southeast Atlantic Marine Debris Initiative, is run out of the University of Georgia College of Engineering and allows users to contribute to local and international plastic litter data collection, by logging when they find trash along our coastlines and waterways.

Graph to show types of plastic collected during the survey

Many single use plastic items, personal care products and household items were also picked up during the cleanup, including bottle lids, grocery bags, plastic bottles, plastic cup lids and straws. You can learn more about virtual voyage crewmember Jackie Nuñez’s initiative to reduce plastic straws here: The Last Plastic Straw.

From Canada to Puerto Rico, our crew collected litter across the globe. From beaches to unexpected snow, here’s what it looked like for our virtual voyage crew …

You too can head out into your local area to conduct your own survey! Want to find out how? Download the Marine Debris Tracker App.