Conference PaperPDF Available

CITIZEN SCIENCE AND DATA INTEGRATION FOR UNDERSTANDING MARINE LITTER

Authors:

Abstract and Figures

Protecting the ocean is essential for the sustainability of the planet. Oceans provide food and livelihood for human populations, host vast biodiversity and ecosystems and provide climate regulatory services. However, due to the vastness of the oceans, monitoring ocean pollution and health is logistically challenging and expensive. This is particularly true for plastics. In the last 50 years, global production of plastics has increased more than 22-fold, and only an estimated 9% of plastics produced have been recycled ; 1 Moreover, there is a lack of information on the volume of plastic that is currently in the ocean, where that plastic accumulates, and the process of how plastic breaks down into microplastic as well as a lack of information on how plastic affects ecosystem or human health. Answering these questions requires new ways of collecting and analyzing data. Citizen science and complementary activities, like targeted beach clean-ups, not only provide a cost effective mechanism for collecting data, but also provide an opportunity to increase awareness and action on issues relating to marine litter. A consortium of partners including UN Environment and the Wilson Center are partnering on Earth Challenge 2020 , 2 the largest globally coordinated citizen science campaign to date, to bring people together to better understand marine litter.
Content may be subject to copyright.
CITIZEN SCIENCE AND DATA INTEGRATION FOR
UNDERSTANDING MARINE LITTER
Jillian Campbell[1],Anne Bowser[2], Dilek Fraisl[3][4], Metis Meloche[2]
1: United Nations Environment Programme, Nairobi, Kenya.
2: Wilson Center, Washington DC, USA
3: International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Vienna, Austria
4: University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU), Vienna, Austria
Abstract: Protecting the ocean is essential for the sustainability of the planet. Oceans
provide food and livelihood for human populations, host vast biodiversity and ecosystems
and provide climate regulatory services. However, due to the vastness of the oceans,
monitoring ocean pollution and health is logistically challenging and expensive. This is
particularly true for plastics. In the last 50 years, global production of plastics has increased
more than 22-fold, and only an estimated 9% of plastics produced have been recycled ;
1
Moreover, there is a lack of information on the volume of plastic that is currently in the
ocean, where that plastic accumulates, and the process of how plastic breaks down into
microplastic as well as a lack of information on how plastic affects ecosystem or human
health. Answering these questions requires new ways of collecting and analyzing data.
Citizen science and complementary activities, like targeted beach clean-ups, not only
provide a cost effective mechanism for collecting data, but also provide an opportunity to
increase awareness and action on issues relating to marine litter. A consortium of partners
including UN Environment and the Wilson Center are partnering on Earth Challenge 2020 ,
2
the largest globally coordinated citizen science campaign to date, to bring people together to
better understand marine litter.
Key words: data, citizen science, plastic, oceans, SDG 14
1. Introduction
The rise in global plastic production has resulted in an estimated 5-13 million tons of plastic
from land-based sources ending up in marine environments . This presents an increasing
3
threat to ocean health and biodiversity, as well as a threat to fostering a sustainable blue
economy through sustainable tourism and fisheries. Addressing marine litter issues will
require a holistic approach which identifies opportunities to reduce plastic use and plastic
waste, particularly single use plastics and plastics containing toxins. Further, there is a need
for improvements in solid waste collection and management; better treatment of
wastewater; and, cleaning-up the volume of plastic which has already entered the ocean.
1 Geyer, R., Jambeck, J. R., & Law, K. L. (2017). Production, use, and fate of all plastics ever made.
Science Advances 3(7), e1700782.
2 Earth Day Network, website https://www.earthday.org/campaigns/earthchallenge2020/
3 Jambeck, J., Geyer, R., Wilcox, C., Siegler, T., Perryman, M., Andrady, A. Narayan, R. and Law, K.
(2015). Plastic waste inputs from land into the ocean, Science: 347 (6223), 768-771.
Addressing the plastic flow pathways and plastic accumulation in oceans depends on
building awareness through citizen engagement and promoting behavior change. Citizen
science campaigns have the potential to accomplish both of these tasks. Citizens are in the
4
best position to collect and utilize data within their local communities. However, for citizen
5
generated data to provide local and global advocacy benefits, it must be packaged in a way
that is easy to understand and is consistent across time and location. Additionally, to garner
action on marine litter, citizens need to not only understand the current volume or flow of
plastics into marine environments, but also how to take action in their own community to
reduce the flow of plastics into the ocean and to target beach and ocean cleanups to the
most affected litter accumulation spots.
The importance of tackling marine litter has been globally recognized in the context of the
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Specifically, target 14.1 states “by 2025, prevent
and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities,
including marine debris and nutrient pollution”. UN Environment is developing a
6
methodology for national monitoring of marine litter which includes identification of the
primary sources of plastics entering the environment, plastic flow pathways, and
accumulations zones. The methodology is directly linked to monitoring of the SDG target
14.1. This methodology will assess plastic production data, estimating leakages from waste
systems, quantifying plastic flows through waterways, and identifying plastic accumulation
zones. This methodology will use citizen science data as a primary source of information for
measuring plastic accumulation on beaches and coastal waters and will use this data to
estimate plastic leakage and flow based on data modelling. In terms of monitoring the
concentration of marine plastics the methodology includes four themes, (1) plastic debris
washed/deposited on beaches or shorelines (beach litter), (2) floating plastic debris and
plastic debris in the water column, (3) plastic debris on the seafloor/seabed and (4) plastic
ingested by biota (note the methodology is underdevelopment but is described in the official
workplan for the SDG process) .
7
2. Citizen science and marine litter
There are already a number of citizen science efforts to collect data on marine litter such as
the Australian Marine Debris Initiative (AMDI), the Civic Laboratory for Environmental Action
Research (CLEAR), OpenLitterMap, Litterati, Marine Debris Tracker, Marine Litter Watch,
Dive Against Debris, the Adventure Scientists Global Microplastics Initiative, Guts for
Science, and many others. These programs bring together citizen scientists, communities,
organizations and other stakeholders to collect data on the extent of the problem, track the
4 Phillips, T., Ballard, H., Lewenstein, B.,, and Bonney, R. (2019). Engagement in science through
citizen science: Moving beyond data collection. Science Education, 103, 3, 665-690.
5 UN Environment Science-Policy-Business Forum (2019). The Case for a Digital Ecosystem for the
Environment, discussion paper, UN Environment.
https://un-spbf.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Digital-Ecosystem-final.pdf
6United Nations, Global indicator framework adopted by the General Assembly (A/RES/71/313)
including annual refinements contained in E/CN.3/2018/2 (Annex II) and E/CN.3/2019/2 (Annex II).
(2019).
https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/indicators/Global%20Indicator%20Framework%20after%202019%20refine
ment_Eng.pdf
7 UN Environment, SDG workplan submission, SDG 14.1.1. Last updated July 2018.
https://uneplive.unep.org/media/docs/projects/14_1_1_work_plan.pdf
source of the litter, understand how it is released into the environment, track and promote
litter removal from our coastal areas and waters, influence policy and promote behavior
change. Notably, different citizen science programmes have different purposes and assess
different aspects of the plastic value chain (beach litter, floating, suspended or sea floor litter
in coastal areas, plastics ingested by biota, microplastic concentration or information on
waste management). For instance, Marine Litter DroNET uses drone technology, machine
learning and citizen science to recognize plastics and hotspots. Citizen scientists also help
train algorithms by tagging plastics in drone gathered images. The greatest prevalence of
citizen science data is from land-based sampling, such as beach clean-ups, as land based
sampling is easiest to carry out . The efforts to collect citizen science data from beaches and
8
nearshore locations range from beach clean-up events which involve broad community
participation, to clean-up specific sites, to trained data collectors using designed surveys at a
site selected for statistical purposes.
Data collected through these citizen science initiatives follows specific protocols and data
collection procedures and can provide a valuable source of information for understanding
plastic debris. However, these initiatives use diverse methods to identify the status of marine
pollution, which makes it difficult to integrate the data available in a consistent way in order
to measure the true scale of the problem. It is necessary to harmonize these approaches to
gather comparable data for spatial and temporal analysis. Harmonizing and integrated data
from citizen science initiatives can provide information for estimating debris baselines,
volume, impacts and changes . Additionally, this information can serve as an input and
9
validation data for global models of plastic concentration and flows, including modelling the
movement of plastics through ocean currents.
2.1. Definitions, harmonization and data collection
Monitoring marine litter is important for understanding how marine litter impacts the natural
environment, for informing national policy and for building consumer awareness of issues
related to the use of certain plastics. To accomplish these objectives requires data which is
comparable across time and location and which, through data processing, can supply
policy-relevant indicators. In some cases, understanding the particular sources of marine
plastics can be accomplished by conducting brand audits which assess the prevalence of
different types of plastic products. The Break Free From Plastics tool provides an example
10
of a citizen science initiative which can provide additional information for identifying the
relative contributions of different economic actors to marine litter.
8 Hardesty, B., Wilcox, C., Schuyler, Q., Lawson, T. and Opie, K. (2017) Developing a baseline
estimate of amounts, types, Developing a baseline estimate of amounts, types, sources and
distribution of coastal litter – an analysis of US marine debris data. CSIRO.
https://research.csiro.au/marinedebris/wp-content/uploads/sites/133/2018/02/CSIRO_Analysis-US-ma
rin-debris-data_OCNOAA-Report_23Oct2017.pdf
9 Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (2019)
“Guidelines for the Monitoring and Assessment of Plastic Litter in the Ocean”
, GESAMP Reports and
Studies #99.
https://environmentlive.unep.org/media/docs/marine_plastics/une_science_dvision_gesamp_reports.p
df
10 Break Free From Plastics Brand Audit Toolkit,
https://www.breakfreefromplastic.org/brandaudittoolkit/
At the international level, the Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine
Environmental Protection (GESAMP), was tasked with developing an internationally
comparable methodology for monitoring marine litter. The GESAMP methodology details
11
the value of citizen science initiatives for contributing incidental observations or sampling of
specific items, as well as the value of providing regular data which can be used to estimate
data on litter density and quantities. However, when definitions and methodologies are not
12
followed consistently, this can lead to misleading or conflicting conclusions. For example,
one study of marine litter data sources in the United States found little correlation between
the estimated pattern of debris loading when comparing data following the National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research
Organisation (CSIRO) methodology. This was partially due to differences in the way that
13
sites were identified and the exclusion of smaller items in one of the methodologies. Moving
forward there is a need to bring members of the citizen science community together to
promote open data, the use of standard definitions and data collection methods, to promote
and to identify ways to harmonize existing data collections. The Earth Challenge 2020
provides an example of a research initiative to bring citizen scientists, researchers and policy
makers together to analyze how existing citizen science data can be pooled together for
better analysis and to promote harmonized, open data collection and sharing.
2.2. Earth Challenge 2020 and other Citizen Science Initiatives
April 22, 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. In recognition of this milestone
Earth Day Network, the U.S. Department of State, the Woodrow Wilson International Center
for Scholars, and other partners are launching Earth Challenge 2020 (EC2020) as the
world’s largest globally coordinated citizen science campaign. Earth Challenge 2020 has two
goals. First, the EC2020 seeks to increase the amount of open and interoperable citizen
science data to help answer more complex, global questions than any dataset could address
alone. To enable new data collection, mobile application with numerous data collection
widgets and a software development kit will be built. To facilitate data integration, a
metadata catalogue and API-enabled platform for data integration, analysis, and
visualization will be created. Second, EC2020 seeks to equip and empower people around
the world to understand and act on citizen science data to build safer, healthier communities.
It will offer access to open data, and also educational resources and a “What you can do”
toolkit identifying opportunities for individual and policy-oriented interventions.
11 Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (2019)
“Guidelines for the Monitoring and Assessment of Plastic Litter in the Ocean”
, GESAMP Reports and
Studies #99.
https://environmentlive.unep.org/media/docs/marine_plastics/une_science_dvision_gesamp_reports.p
df
12 ibid
13 Hardesty, B., Wilcox, C., Schuyler, Q., Lawson, T. and Opie, K. (2017) Developing a baseline
estimate of amounts, types, Developing a baseline estimate of amounts, types, sources and
distribution of coastal litter – an analysis of US marine debris data. CSIRO.
https://research.csiro.au/marinedebris/wp-content/uploads/sites/133/2018/02/CSIRO_Analysis-US-ma
rin-debris-data_OCNOAA-Report_23Oct2017.pdf
In 2018, the Earth Challenge 2020 team launched a global crowdsourcing call for people to
identify the most important research questions in environmental and human health.
Hundreds of responses from all seven continents were distilled into 6 research questions,
including “What is the extent of plastics pollution?”
These research questions will serve as
focal points for developing including technologies for data collection and integration as well
as education and outreach materials. For each of the six research questions, teams of
researchers, educators, and other experts will help design the specific protocols for data
collection (e.g., through the mobile application), data integration (e.g., by identifying relevant
sources of data), and the development of educational and outreach materials. Research
teams will also help map the contributions of Earth Challenge 2020 to the SDGs.
Members of the Earth Challenge 2020 plastics research team has already helped shape the
project in a number of ways. In early 2019, UN Environment convened a workshop of global
experts to help inform the methodology of 14.1. These experts helped illustrate the need for
integrated citizen science data on plastics pollution, and also the need for data collection
through the app on a more upstream topic, like household waste or municipal waste.
Additionally, research teams also helped identify and secure four data sets for a data
integration hackathon held in partnership with DataKind DC. Results of this hackathon will be
made available through ArcGIS software in July 2019.
Ultimately, the aim of Earth Challenge 2020 is to create an infrastructure of coordinated
citizen science technologies and communities. While the six research questions are initial
opportunities for coordination, the interoperable infrastructure built from EC2020 will
ultimately be valuable for advancing citizen science in a range of areas impacting
environmental and human health.
2.3. Citizen action
In addition to involving volunteers in data collection, citizen science brings numerous
opportunities for educating people on the specifics of a given problem and working towards a
solution. Citizen science campaigns, such as the Earth Challenge 2020, can work with
teachers to create lesson plans for bringing the project into classrooms worldwide. These
lesson plans may cover a variety of informative topics, including the science behind plastics
pollution, information on the factors that cause waste to spread throughout the environment,
information on which types of plastic products are particularly likely to end up in the
environment, and empowering students to analyze the citizen science data collected and
integrated through Earth Challenge 2020 including data from existing citizen science
initiatives.
In addition, citizen science can help mobilize citizen action and provide policy-relevant
information by engaging volunteers and communities with the process of knowledge
production. The EC2020 will include the production of a “What you can do” toolkit which will
provide information on individual and policy-oriented interventions translated into six UN
languages and customized to geography and research domain. Opportunities for individual
action may include recycling, with additional data and information used to stimulate action to
reduce plastics use, especially single use. Other opportunities may include participation in
beach cleanups, though these only address plastic pollution at the location of final
accumulation.
Figure reproduced from: Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection,
“Guidelines for the Monitoring and Assessment of Plastic Litter in the Ocean”
, GESAMP Reports and Studies
#99, 123p, 2019. Figure authors: Tim Kiessling and Martin Thiel (Creative Commons BY-NC 4.0 licence).
3. Timeline and scaling
For work on SDG 14.1.1., methodological development and initial pilot testing will take place
in the second and third quarters of 2019, the pilot project includes local testing in Kenya and
Seychelles during 2019 and seven additional countries in Asia and Africa in 2020. Current
efforts to bring the citizen science community on board are also underway, and will be
amplified through Earth Challenge 2020 and working groups such as the WeObserve SDGs
and Citizen Observatories Community of Practice funded by the European Commission and
Citizen Science Global Partnership SDGs and Citizen Science Maximization Group.
A full working methodology for measuring SDG 14.1.1 will be developed by October . This
14
work builds upon the GESAMP methodologies, the experiences of CSIRO, and the results of
other activities like the Earth Challenge 2020 and the DataKind hackathon. Earth Challenge
2020 will include focused data collection on a global scale throughout 2020, and will also
14 UN Environment, Global Manual on Ocean Statistics: Towards a Definition of Indicator
Methodologies (forthcoming), UN Environment, draft version available at:
https://uneplive.unep.org/media/docs/statistics/egm/global_manual_on_ocean_statistics_towards_a_d
efinition_of_indicator_methodologies.pdf
enable longer-term citizen science data collection and integration. The methods will then be
scaled to a greater number of countries across all regions in 2020 with continued expansion.
4. Conclusions
The SDGs identify 169 targets that are necessary for achieving development - these
15
targets represent the issues that are essential for achieving an inclusive and sustainable
future and provide a framework for holistic development across social, environmental,
economic and political spheres. However, without data and science which can be used to
analyze development targets, it is not possible to target interventions, investment or engage
with local and national policy-makers.
Data from citizen science provides a cost effective resource which can be combined with
other sources of data to better measure our planet. Numerous initiatives are already
mapping citizen science to the SDGs, including at the goal, target and indicator level. Many
of these are undertaken by researchers working collaboratively, such as a community of
practice fostered by the WeObserve project (WeObserve SDGs CoP), and through SDGs,
Citizen Science Maximization Working Group of the Citizen Science Global Partnership, and
through a CODATA-WDS Task Force on Citizen Science and the SDGs.
Citizen science data could be better brought into the scope of official SDG monitoring
through: (1) building recognition of the value of citizen science data with the producers of
official statistics (national statistical offices, other government stakeholders and SDG
custodian entities; (2) encouraging citizen science organizations to openly share data and
metadata and to publish information related to data validation procedures; (3) promoting the
use of harmonized definitions, formats and methodologies across citizen science and earth
observation communities; and (4) working to bring citizen science data into an accessible
repository. There is expansive opportunity for combining citizen science data with Earth
Observations (EOs) to support cross-validation.
The efforts on measuring SDG 14.1.1 on marine litter are still a work in progress, but can
provide an example of how to bring together citizen data with other types of information for
official SDG monitoring and to generate actionable results. Citizen data provides an
additional opportunity to engage with citizens to take action to improve their natural
environment. For marine litter, beach cleanups serve a valuable purpose, and additional
education and engagement could also be used to encourage citizens to make different
consumption decisions and to rethink how waste is generated. The Earth Challenge 2020
provides an example of such an initiative which could be used to stimulate long-term
engagement between citizen scientists, data scientists and national statistical systems to
galvanize action.
5. Acknowledgements and partners
This work receives funding from the Government of Norway and represents a broad
collaboration including the following: UN Environment, International Institute for Applied
15 United Nations. (2015) Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,
A/Res/70/1.
Systems Analysis (IIASA), the Citizen Science Global Partnership, the United States
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Wilson Center, Earth Day
Network, U.S. Department of State through the Eco Capitol’s Forum, ESA, International
Solid Waste Association (ISWA), UN-Habitat, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial
Research Organisation (CSIRO), Florida State University, the West Indian Ocean Marine
Science Association and others.
... Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have played an essential role in global garbage monitoring, and reports issued by such groups are a major source of information regarding this matter (Addamo et al., 2018;Campbell et al., 2019). Citizen science programs organized by NGOs often recruit local communities and other stakeholders to collect, analyze and report data on ML occurrence from local to global scale. ...
... Citizen science programs organized by NGOs often recruit local communities and other stakeholders to collect, analyze and report data on ML occurrence from local to global scale. Campbell et al. (2019) also stated that such activities have contributed to raise environmental awareness, identification of sources and in the removal of tons of ML from coastal areas. Furthermore, the implementation of public policies were based on data analysis generated by such organizations (Richards and Heard, 2005). ...
Article
Seasonal distribution of Marine Litter (ML) on Santos beaches was assessed using a citizen science strategy. Plastics and cigarette butts (CB) were the dominant items in all sampling campaigns. Seasonal distribution did not result in significant differences for most items. Plastic and CB amounts were high in summer compared to autumn. For all sampled sites the presence of beach users influenced ML densities. However, results showed that some sites presented an additional influence of local hydrodynamic. Moderate amounts of hazardous items including metal, glass, CB, sanitary waste and plastic tubes used to pack and market illicit drugs represented between 20.8 and 31% of all ML over the seasons. The beaches of Santos were classified as dirty in autumn and spring and as extremely dirty in winter and summer. These findings can serve as a baseline to support mitigating actions by public authorities and start monitoring programs of ML not only in Santos but also in other urbanized beaches.
... Many studies have demonstrated that citizen science is suitable for marine litter monitoring [3,[81][82][83][84][85][86]. Our study showed the potential of citizen science to provide scientifically valuable data in the assessment of marine litter pollution. ...
Article
Full-text available
Marine litter is a significant threat to the marine environment, human health, and the economy. In this study, beach litter surveys along Vietnamese coasts were conducted in a local context to quantify and characterize marine litter using the modified GESAMP marine litter monitoring guideline. A total of 21,754 items weighing 136,820.2 g was recorded across 14 surveys from September 2020 to January 2021. Plastic was the most abundant type of litter by both quantity (20,744 items) and weight (100,371.2 g). Fishing gear 1 (fishing plastic rope, net pieces, fishing lures and lines, hard plastic floats) and soft plastic fragments were the most frequently observed items (17.65% and 17.24%, respectively). This study not only demonstrates the abundance and composition of marine litter in Vietnam, it also provides valuable information for the implementation of appropriate preventive measures, such as the redesign of collection, reuse, and recycling programs, and informs policy and priorities, with a focus on action and investment in Vietnam. Moreover, insights from this study indicate that citizen science is a useful approach for collecting data on marine litter in Vietnam.
... Several citizen science projects have also demonstrated how UAVs can help to address the marine litter problem (Fritz et al. 2019; Jiménez López and Mulero-Pázmány 2019; Campbell et al. 2019). Projects such as the Marine Litter UAVT encourage citizen scientists to undertake their own marine litter surveys using a standardised methodology (Kohler 2018). ...
Article
Full-text available
Data and information obtained from low-cost uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly referred to as 'drones', can be used to support integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) and sustainable development at the coast. Several recent studies in various disciplines, including ecology, engineering, and several branches of physical and human geography, describe the applications of UAV technology with practical coastal management potential, yet the extent to which such data can contribute to these activities remains underexplored. The main objective of this paper is to collate this knowledge to highlight the areas in which UAV technology can contribute to ICZM and can influence the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the coast. We focus on applications with practical potential for coastal management activities and assess their accessibility in terms of cost, ease of use, and maturity. We identified ten (out of the 17) SDGs to which UAVs can contribute data and information. Examples of applications include surveillance of illegal fishing and aquaculture activities, seaweed resource assessments, cost-estimation of post-storm damages, and documentation of natural and cultural heritage sites under threat from, for example, erosion and sea-level rise. An awareness of how UAVs can contribute to ICZM, as well as the limitations of the technology, can help coastal practitioners to evaluate their options for future management activities. Supplementary information: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s12237-021-01001-5.
... As per its utility in various projects with different aims, Wiggins and Crownston [38] classified citizen science projects into five mutually exclusive and exhaustive types-action, education, conservation, investigation and virtual projects. The various action projects address local issues with the joint collaboration of citizens and scientists/researchersfor example, references [39][40][41][42][43][44][45][46][47][48][49]-and education projects help in improving the knowledge of citizens as part of the curriculum [50][51][52][53][54][55]. The conservation projects focus on the management of natural resources-for example, reference [19]-investigation projects emphasise the study of citizen's observations combined with different parameters to answer scientific questions [56,57] and virtual projects involve remote citizen science activities [58][59][60][61]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Recent advancements in spatial modelling and mapping methods have opened up new horizons for monitoring the migration of bird species, which have been altered due to the climate change. The rise of citizen science has also aided the spatiotemporal data collection with associated attributes. The biodiversity data from citizen observatories can be employed in machine learning algorithms for predicting suitable environmental conditions for species’ survival and their future migration behaviours. In this study, different environmental variables effective in birds’ migrations were analysed, and their habitat suitability was assessed for future understanding of their responses in different climate change scenarios. The Jacobin cuckoo (Clamator jacobinus) was selected as the subject species, since their arrival to India has been traditionally considered as a sign for the start of the Indian monsoon season. For suitability predictions in current and future scenarios, maximum entropy (Maxent) modelling was carried out with environmental variables and species occurrences observed in India and Africa. For modelling, the correlation test was performed on the environmental variables (bioclimatic, precipitation, minimum temperature, maximum temperature, precipitation, wind and elevation). The results showed that precipitation-related variables played a significant role in suitability, and through reclassified habitat suitability maps, it was observed that the suitable areas of India and Africa might decrease in future climatic scenarios (SSPs 2.6, 4.5, 7.0 and 8.5) of 2030 and 2050. In addition, the suitability and unsuitability areas were calculated (in km2) to observe the subtle changes in the ecosystem. Such climate change studies can support biodiversity research and improve the agricultural economy.
... For example, efforts are underway to promote CS contributions to reporting progress on SDG 14.1.1.b, which assesses plastics pollution in oceans, by including an indicator for citizen science collected data on beach litter (Campbell et al., 2019). A UN advisory group produced an 138-page report on plastics pollution (Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Technical Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP), 2019) that is too dense and detailed for most individuals or citizen science groups. ...
Article
Full-text available
Citizen science is an important vehicle for democratizing science and promoting the goal of universal and equitable access to scientific data and information. Data generated by citizen science groups have become an increasingly important source for scientists, applied users and those pursuing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Citizen science data are used extensively in studies of biodiversity and pollution; crowdsourced data are being used by UN operational agencies for humanitarian activities; and citizen scientists are providing data relevant to monitoring the sustainable development goals (SDGs). This article provides an International Science Council (ISC) perspective on citizen science data generating activities in support of the 2030 Agenda and on needed improvements to the citizen science community's data stewardship practices for the benefit of science and society by presenting results of research undertaken by an ISC-sponsored Task Group.
Article
The SDGs are a universal agenda to address the world’s most pressing societal, environmental and economic challenges. The supply of timely, relevant and reliable data is essential in guiding policies and decisions for successful implementation of the SDGs. Yet official statistics cannot provide all of the data needed to populate the SDG indicator framework. Citizen science offers a novel solution and an untapped opportunity to complement traditional sources of data, such as household surveys, for monitoring progress towards the SDGs, while at the same time mobilizing action and raising awareness for their achievement. This paper presents the potential offered by one specific citizen science tool, Picture Pile, to complement and enhance official statistics to monitor several SDGs and targets. Designed to be a generic and flexible tool, Picture Pile is a web-based and mobile application for ingesting imagery from satellites, orthophotos, unmanned aerial vehicles or geotagged photographs that can then be rapidly classified by volunteers. The results show that Picture Pile could contribute to the monitoring of fifteen SDG indicators under goals 1, 2, 11, 13, 14 and 15 based on the Picture Pile campaigns undertaken to date. Picture Pile could also be modified to support other SDGs and indicators in the areas of ecosystem health, eutrophication and built-up areas, among others. In order to leverage this particular tool for SDG monitoring, its potential must be showcased through the development of use cases in collaboration with governments, NSOs and relevant custodian agencies. Additionally, mutual trust needs to be built among key stakeholders to agree on common goals that would facilitate the use of Picture Pile or other citizen science tools and data for SDG monitoring and impact.
Article
Full-text available
The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a vision for achieving a sustainable future. Reliable, timely, comprehensive, and consistent data are critical for measuring progress towards, and ultimately achieving, the SDGs. Data from citizen science represent one new source of data that could be used for SDG reporting and monitoring. However, information is still lacking regarding the current and potential contributions of citizen science to the SDG indicator framework. Through a systematic review of the metadata and work plans of the 244 SDG indicators, as well as the identification of past and ongoing citizen science initiatives that could directly or indirectly provide data for these indicators, this paper presents an overview of where citizen science is already contributing and could contribute data to the SDG indicator framework. The results demonstrate that citizen science is “already contributing” to the monitoring of 5 SDG indicators, and that citizen science “could contribute” to 76 indicators, which, together, equates to around 33%. Our analysis also shows that the greatest inputs from citizen science to the SDG framework relate to SDG 15 Life on Land, SDG 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities, SDG 3 Good Health and Wellbeing, and SDG 6 Clean Water and Sanitation. Realizing the full potential of citizen science requires demonstrating its value in the global data ecosystem, building partnerships around citizen science data to accelerate SDG progress, and leveraging investments to enhance its use and impact.
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any references for this publication.