Monitoring Marine Plastics

Project Details & About Marine Plastics

The United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) identifies marine plastic pollution as a top environmental concern. Marine plastics entangle wildlife and boat propellers, are ingested by marine animals, and alter oxygen transfer in environments. Growing evidence indicates that plastics can move toxic chemicals into marine food webs which can have a huge impact on human health. Despite these hazards, Canada lacks a long-term monitoring program for marine plastics. There is limited data about the quantity and composition of marine plastics in Canadian northern and arctic regions, including Newfoundland and Labrador.

The Civic Laboratory for Environmental Action Research (CLEAR) at Memorial University has developed technologies and protocols to allow citizen scientists (everyday people) to monitor and collect data on local marine plastic pollution.

Join Project

Through their involvement in this Action Project, interested persons can engage in an important and relevant citizen science activity. The data collected will help inform our understanding of pollution due to plastics, the extent of the issue in Canada, as well as the different types and amounts of plastics found in the environment.


Project Resources

Participation Guide


Curriculum Connections


Download Marine Tracker App (MDT)

The MDT app is free from the app store or from Google Play. With Marine Debris Tracker, the app lets you easily report where you find marine debris or litter anywhere in the world. For more information, visit

“How to” Guides

View Results

Coming soon


Civic Laboratory for Environmental Action Research (CLEAR) engages in action-oriented research through grassroots environmental monitoring. Civic Laboratory’s techniques are developed in recognition that the process of research, as well as research findings, impact the world. We focus on do-it-yourself, feminist, participatory, and activist methodologies based in local knowledge so research contributes to positive change in the environments in which we work and live. Our techniques include place-based and land-based science, action research, citizen science,participatory research, feminist science and technology, do-it-yourself (DIY) and do-it-with-others (DIWO). For more information about CLEAR, visit

The Civic Laboratory for Environmental Action Research (CLEAR) at Memorial University of Newfoundland is pleased to partner with Let's Talk Science. Through this partnership we have created guides on how to build and use these devices in classrooms from grade 7-12, along with a participation and curriculum alignment guide so teachers can integrate the projects into Newfoundland and Labrador curriculum requirements.  After a pilot phase, we hope to expand this project to other jurisdictions and to include monitoring of plastics in terrestrial and freshwater environments as well as marine. Please complete the registration form if you would like to be informed when this project is available in your jurisdiction.