Want to help us collect data on debris? There’s an app for that. The Clean Swell app.

At Save The Great South Bay, we are firm believers in the age old adage of you can’t manage what you can’t measure. Starting in 2021 and in collaboration with the Ocean Conservancy, our dedicated team of Creek Defenders introduced debris data collection using the Clean Swell app. We are now tracking the types and amounts of debris that volunteers help pick out of the creeks and creek beds as well as the surrounding areas. This year alone our volunteers helped remove over 10,000 lbs of debris. Sad, but true.

Locations of some of Save The Great South Bay clean up efforts in 2021 tracked using the Clean Swell app.

“Over 10,000 lbs of trash was collected out of South Shore Creeks in March and April and tracked with the Clean Swell app”, according to Janet Marie Soley, Debris Data Coordinator at Save The Great South Bay.

Clean SwellThe Clean Swell app

The Clean Swell App is part of the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup initiative and allows individuals and groups to track what they are finding. By using Clean Swell during cleanups, you’re contributing to the world’s largest marine debris database.  The data you collect and submit while using Clean Swell help inform and create long term solutions to the global ocean plastics crisis.

It always feels good to say “Yes, I participated in a cleanup this past weekend”, but now we have the data to document our hard work! 

  • Record every item of trash you collect.
  • Share your Cleanup results and impact with friends via Facebook, Twitter, and email.
  • Track your total distance cleaned.
  • See the total weight of the trash you collect.
  • Earn badges based on the type and quantity of trash and cleanups you do, like the Sea Turtle Saver!
  • Keep a historical record of your Cleanup efforts.
  • Create ocean trash solutions by contributing to a global database and helping to identify trends.
  • Learn scientific facts about the impact of trash on ocean animals and what you can do to help.

We challenge South Shore residents to continue this incredible effort all year long. Simply download the Clean Swell App and start keeping track of your trash collection every time you walk your local creek, beach or even local street. It’s easy!

Robyn Silvestri, Executive Director and Janet Marie Soley, Debris Data Coordinator at Save The Great South Bay

Once you create your user account, you simply “Start a Cleanup”. All clean ups conducted between Massapequa and Mastic Beach will be automatically tagged for our group.  As you collect debris, you press and hold down on an icon until a window appears.  Type in the quantity of items you wish to add.  This is helpful when you come across large quantities of trash [like we found in East Islip]!  You can also record past cleanup information when it’s not prudent to record data in ‘real time’.

Finally we’d like to give a big shout out to Janet Marie Soley, Debris Data Coordinator, who initiated this effort on behalf of our organization and attended over a dozen clean ups in Spring 2021 to guide volunteers on data collection.  Our organization is driven by volunteers just like Janet. You rock, Janet!

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