Ocean plastic pollution and other ocean debris is the biggest threat to the health of the ocean ecosystem. Seven hundred marine species are threatened because of plastic pollution (1), and approximately 1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals are killed by plastics (2). Plastic in the ocean also affects humans through the accumulation of harmful chemicals in our food supply. Most ocean garbage starts on land and is swept out to the sea by wind or waves. It is of utmost importance to stop ocean pollution at its source, where it is easy to recover, and before it is dispersed throughout the ocean ecosystem. 1. https://www.onegreenplanet.org/environment/marine-species-extinction-and-plastic-pollution/ 2. https://www.marineconservation.org.au/pages/ocean-plastic-pollution.html
The Coastal Cleanup website will connect people who want clean coasts (Coast Patrons) with those willing to do the cleaning work (Coast Cleaners). Coast Cleaners will register on the Coastal Cleaners website, pick up litter at their neighborhood beach, dispose of it appropriately, and document it via social media. Coast Cleanup will aggregate the beach clean-up documentation for the public to view. After the social media documentation is reviewed by a Coast Patron, a small monetary reward will be given to the Coast Cleaner through Coast Cleanup. The rewards will initially come from a general fund seeded by large donations but crowdfunding the donations will be developed as the project grows. Social media documentation will consist of photos, text, and tagging of people involved in the clean-up. Existing social networks will be used rather than trying to start a new network from the ground up to accelerate the growth of the Coast Cleanup project. Existing networks have the benefit of social proof of work: Coast Cleaners will be less likely to fake clean-up work if all their friends and relatives see they are acting untrustworthy. Payment will initially take place via existing networks such as PayPal, which have greater penetration in developing countries where the need for coastal debris mitigation is the greatest. The Coast Cleanup site will become a community hub, connecting people around the world through real, quantifiable action for ocean conservation.
1 Smartphones and social media are ubiquitous in low income populations.
2 People care about their environment and will enthusiastically clean it with knowledge and incentives.
3 Cash is a good incentive.
4 People with greater financial resources will donate money to lower income people with proof that clean-up work is being done.
5. People will be honest about work they do when it's visible to friends, family, and followers.
People don't have enough incentive to clean up trash at the beach. Developoing countries lack trash cans and infrastructure near the coast that facilitates easy collection. Coastal Cleanup will provide financial and social incentive to make beaches cleaner.
Any reduction in plastic pollution or other debris at the coast will be a success! This project can be a success on many other levels, including income for low income coastal residents and education for residents about the problems associated with beach and ocean litter. The end goal is for the project to grow worldwide and sustain itself with donations and exponential social growth.
We currently have web development and social media skills and knowledge. We need to get to know our user base - their requirements for payments and donations. We may need to support beach cleaners with supplies (gloves, bags, barrels, etc)