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Detecting plastic pollution using data science methods in Imperial Beach, CA and Dunga Beach, Kenya

This project defines a replicable and flexible methodological framework for assessing the magnitude and distribution of marine pollution and impacts of beach activities. This analysis aims to provide comprehensive and harmonized information on plastics to deepen understanding on the management of marine resources using citizen science.

The project addresses the use of integrated technologies applied in two beach cleanups that took place in Imperial Beach, California (April 30, 2022) and Dunga Beach in Kisumu, Kenya (May 7, 2022) to monitor and map plastic pollution at different scales, understand the principal entry points, means of release, and translocation mechanisms of plastic pollution. Findings were presented at the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development Conference in Germany on May 12, 2022, through the creation of a Workshop called ‘Selected Satellite Activity for the Ocean Decade Laboratories’ to educate researchers on how to track waste using GPS, big data analytics, and satellite technologies. The project was developed through a collaboration between the Metabolism of Cities Living Lab, Center for Human Dynamics in the Mobile Age, City of Imperial Beach, Hubzine Italia, The Preuss School & Ecology Club at UCSD, & Tri-M Music Honor Society, SDSU, Department of Geography, The Polly Foundation, Kisumu Environmental Stand-Up Shout Out, Jijenge Youth Organization, and Wins World.


Dr. Gabriela Fernandez (Metabolism of Cities Living Lab, USA), Dr. Ming-Hsiang Tsou (Center for Human Dynamics in the Mobile Age), Courtney Stephens (City of Imperial Beach, USA), Dr. Domenico Vito (Hubzine Italia, Italy), Dr. Hwong, Nai-Ching and Carla Petraglia (The Preuss School & Ecology Club at University of California San Diego, & Tri-M Music Honor Society), SDSU, Department of Geography, Dr. Pauline Owiti (The Polly Foundation, Kenya), Kisumu Environmental Stand-Up Shout Out, Jijenge Youth Organization, and Wins World.