OpenLitterMap: Empowering citizens to track litter on the Cardano blockchain

Sustainable ADA   |   Feb 10, 2023

OpenLitterMap is a blockchain protocol and open database helping track litter, brands, and plastic pollution across the globe.  Utilizing citizen science and empowering communities to come together and track litter pollution. All the data is mapped by space, time, location, and behavior. 

They are turning cleaning the planet into a game. By making it fun and easy to collect data. This data is important because it gives visibility to litter across the globe. It can help us find solutions to minimizing litter pollution like where to put bins, ashtrays, and more.

OpenLitterMap rewards users with Littercoin for capturing and tagging photos, and producing open data on litter. Open data on litter provides a means of tracking and evaluating global responses to plastic pollution. 

Global Map of Litter:

The Global Map:

Why collect litter data?

  1. Visibility 

For many people, litter has become normal and invisible. Maps are powerful because they communicate what we cannot usually see.

  1. Problem-Solving 

OpenLitterMaps data is open and accessible. Everyone has equal, open and unlimited rights to download all of the data and use it for any purpose.

  1. Community 

OpenLitterMap needs your help to create a paradigm shift in how we understand and respond to pollution.

How does Open Litter Map work?

  1. Take a photo

Your device can capture valuable information about the location, time, object, material, and brand.

  1. Tag the litter

Just tag what litter you see in the photo. You can tag if the litter has been picked up or if it’s still there. You can upload your photos anytime!

  1. Share your results 

Just tag what litter you see in the photo. You can tag if the litter has been picked up or if it’s still there. You can upload your photos anytime!

The Team

Seán Lynch – Founder of OpenLitterMap

Founder of OpenLitterMap

[Seán Lynch – OpenLitterMap (on left), Cole Bartlett – Sustainable ADA (on right)]

“I am a geographer from Ireland who worked as a divemaster in the tropics. This experience gave me the motivation and insights to find out what we can all do to fix our planet by improving our understanding of the world we live in. Our knowledge and reality is crafted by the tools we use to understand the world around us. 

Throughout history, when these tools changed, the paradigm that we experience evolves with it. Social media is a good example. At OpenLitterMap, it’s like getting out of the matrix of social media 1.0 to experience technology applied to the real world. Guided by open science principles, we are turning cleaning the planet into a game to unlock the power of gamers everywhere to transform our knowledge about their real world existence and unlock data that can teach people about how badly polluted the planet is by your local vendors who can then be included in the conversation. 

By collecting this data, you are doing PROOF OF WORK and earning LITTERCOIN which can only be spent in the climate economy.” – Seán Lynch

Series of events leading to OpenLitter Map

2008: Studied geography at University.

2012: Went diving and experienced ocean degradation with own eyes. Used brain to apply technology to problems.

2013-15: Did x2 masters of science to develop the methodology. After completing my final year dissertation on OpenLitterMap, I was introduced to tokenization on Ethereum which inspired Littercoin.

2015-16: Teaching myself how to code.

April 2017: launched, people now mining Littercoin which is saved as a database column to be distributed later.

June 2017: Minted Littercoin on Ethereum but this is deprecated.

2018-19: Apps launched on iOS and Android.

2020: Went fully open source.

July 2021: First funding from Project Catalyst on Cardano to build Littercoin on Cardano.

Q1 2023: Launch of the Littercoin token and Smart smart contract.

Why Cardano?

Littercoin actually didn’t go right to Cardano and their initial plans didn’t have Cardano on the road map. 

“Littercoin did not choose Cardano. Cardano chose Littercoin.” – OpenLitterMap

Current challenges in the blockchain space

“Crypto needs a real world use case. Until crypto fixes a real environmental problem, to most people, it’s pointless. Littercoin fixes this by crowdsourcing data on actual garbage, which ironically, is some of the most valuable data that your device can collect. We create a funny, easy, low barrier to adoption that enables many new people to earn their first crypto by helping us collect data.” – Seán Lynch

Connection to the Sustainable Development Goals

Sustainable Development Goals

The United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are an urgent call for action by all countries. This enables countries to create global partnerships that work towards achieving these goals. The goal is to achieve the SDGs, which are built upon decades of work by countries and the UN.

Blockchain technology is a key technology for the SDGs because it enables stakeholders globally to have the ability to track, record, and share data that is immutable, timestamped,  and verifiable. The traceability of data can only be proven from data that is added on a chain.

OpenLitterMap is strongly aligned to the SDGs and represents a connection to the goals…

SDG 4 Quality Education by providing important data on litter pollution with OpenLitterMaps interactive informative maps on where litter is and the brands that the most litter is produced by helps share educational data for all including  governments and institutions.

SDG 9 Industry, Innovation, And Infrastructure by creating Littercoin, using Citizen Science, and  incentivising members of different communities to collect litter data and get rewarded for their contribution. The data collected can lead to more solutions on how to minimize litter pollution efforts.

SDG 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities by helping provide a model to identify where litter is which in hand helps community members be more informed on where to clean up litter. Littercoin provides an incentive for cleaning up litter. By taking photos and tagging the location with a cellphone. Which helps cities and communities stay cleaner and more sustainable.

SDG 12 Responsible Consumption And Production by helping identify which brands are producing the most litter across the globe which is important data to help change or reduce consumption patterns. 

SDG 13 Climate Action by providing an innovative database where anyone can track and trace global litter pollution which can help us as a global society reduce our litter pollution which helps work toward climate action. 

SDG 14 Life Below Water & SDG 15 Life on Land by tracking the litter around the world, helping minimize the number of litter animals and sealife are exposed to. This can ultimately increase biodiversity and the overall health of the different ecosystems of flora and fauna that live in across the globe.

Learn more:

TEDx (Open Litter Map: Challenging Plastic Pollution with Open Data):

State of Open Litter Map 2019: – Open Data on Plastic Pollution with Blockchain Rewards (Littercoin):

Website | Twitter | Start minting Littercoin

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