DCU Water Institute Asking Public to Map Littering of Waterways

The DCU Water Institute is this week asking people to document and map the littering of Ireland’s waterways 5km from their homes as part of their new citizen science project, the 5KLitterSnap.

Anecdotally there has been a big increase in fly tipping and littering during the Corona virus restrictions and the Water Institute is looking to get concrete data on where the litter hotspots are, what type of litter is being dumped in our ponds, streams, lakes and rivers so that clean-up efforts can be focused and effective.

The Institute is asking citizen scientists to take photos (with their phones) of any waterway littering while they’re out and complete a short questionnaire.

The survey is open from today until Friday 28th May and the data will be placed on a live central litter map for everyone to access on their website to indicate litter hotspots which you can track. In addition to clean-ups, the data will also identify the type of litter that is predominant in the environment and the sources of the litter.

Ruth Clinton, Water Innovation Officer at the Water Institute said:

“We were overwhelmed with the response to the WaterBlitz back in September and we’re hoping that just as many people will get involved in the 5KLitterSnap.

A lot of us have noticed more litter being dumped during the period of Corona virus restrictions and the aim of this project is to map exactly where it is and what is being dumped so we can then focus on getting our waterways clean and healthy.”

To take part in the 5KLitterSnap please go to https://dcuwater.ie/5klittersnap/


The 5KLitterSnap is a follow-on from the Water Institute and Earthwatch’s WaterBlitz which took place last September. The WaterBlitz was a survey of water bodies in Ireland that was conducted by citizen scientists over four days in September, 20th – 23rd. Volunteers tested water in rivers, lakes, streams and canals around the country to take a snapshot of the health and state of Ireland’s waterways.

It found that over one third of the waterways surveyed were littered. You can find out more about the WaterBlitz here.


About DCU Water Institute

The DCU Water Institute is a cross-faculty initiative of research and education on water. It aims to work with all stakeholders, across academia, industry, agency and society in its research and development work. Through research and capacity building, the Water Institute develops solutions to national and global problems in water. It specialises in technology developments across science, engineering and computer science domains with strong communications focus and policy and business drivers. These areas are reflected in its academic members, who come from all faculties of DCU.




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