Jan 18, 2019

On November 16, 2018, the project team helped to coordinate a Trash Data Dive convened by the State Water Board’s Office of Information Management and Analysis. Hosted at SFEI’s offices, the Trash Data Dive was well-attended and drew participants from all over California to discuss the opportunities to address entrenched problems with respect to trash-related information. Representatives from Regional and State Water Boards gathered together with those from other state agencies, non-profits, municipalities, private consultants, and the interested public to develop new concepts and visualizations using available data. Representatives from SFEI and the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project presented several times on a trash-related project they are co-leading. Audience members expressed interest in trash monitoring, and in particular on the use of drones and machine learning. In the context of a data-focused event, the project team was able to address both conventional and novel techniques to collect data in ways that preserved the integrity and credibility of the resulting datasets. This information about monitoring trash provided a useful counterpoint to the visualizations generated by the other teams. The Data Dive included a robust “hacking session,” and an opportunity to share innovative results. Participants detailed concepts spanning the gamut, from identifying plastics in multiple environments, to tobacco-pollution-focused problem-solving, to ideas for addressing trash among the homeless and overburdened communities, to a “power portal” designed to gather and distribute heterogeneous data types. The ideas generated and the opportunity for networking among like-minded individuals across many disciplines made this event valuable for the project team and participants. We welcome you to track our progress as the team proceeds in its assessments through the rest of the project: TrashMonitoring.org

Programs and Focus Areas: 
Clean Water Program
Environmental Informatics Program