New cell phone app allows beachgoers to report marine debris - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

New cell phone app allows beachgoers to report marine debris

The University of Georgia and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have teamed up to create a new, innovative cell phone reporting mechanism to combat the marine debris problem.

"The tool is important for engaging with beachgoers and stakeholders and is geared at giving the public another way to be a part of the marine debris solution globally," said Jenna Jambeck, assistant professor of environmental engineering in the UGA Faculty of Engineering and one of the app's developers.

Available through iTunes and the Android Market, the easy-to-use Marine Debris Tracker app can be downloaded for use on iPhones and Android phones.

The simple tool allows users to report and record the type and location of debris through GPS features pre-installed on a cell phone. The data submitted is posted on an interactive website at www.marinedebris.engr.uga.edu that allows data to be viewed and downloaded for users to design plans to prevent marine debris.

Marine debris kills wildlife through ingestion and entanglement. It also can have an economic impact on the tourism industry and other coastal businesses by affecting the aesthetics of beaches and waterways.

Jambeck and co-developer Kyle Johnsen, assistant professor of computer systems engineering in the UGA Faculty of Engineering, hope that the Marine Debris Tracker tool will help officials make decisions about how to mitigate marine debris, from supplying more comprehensive waste management, such as trash cans, to providing recycling and disposal opportunities for fishing gear.

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