The important role of citizen science to combat marine litter, raise public awareness and ways it can transform research

June 2022 EASICO 4-day capacity building workshop hosted by Indonesian Waste Platform in collaboration with PEMSEA, OSEAN Republic of Korea, Green Hub Vietnam, ICC Philippines. Participant included local and provincial government representatives, heads of fishing villages and grass-root organisations : Collective impact approach on reducing Marine Debris – funded by the Korean Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries

Citizen science plays a key role in data collection on the presence and pathways of litter in the environment, on land, rivers, lakes and the ocean. Citizen science — active public involvement in scientific research — is advancing; there is a growing stakeholder network of civil society organisations and marine scientists collaborating on professionalising citizen science.

Citizen science contributes to expanding data collection to a wider geographical area. Based on data analysis campaigns can be developed to address specific types of litter found in the monitored area, which contributes to advancing applied science.

Citizens engaging in litter clean-ups do not necessarily have the knowledge about scientific methods, monitoring protocols, data analysis and reporting and is met by scepticism by some. Collaboration between citizens and scientists is key.

Capacity building

One example of such cross-sector collaboration is the Labuan Bajo monitoring program. Since 2021 the Ministry of Fisheries of Republic of Korea and Korea Marine Environment Management Corporation supports O.S.E.A.N and Indonesian Waste Platform (IWP) on developing a comprehensive citizen science program, which includes training on monitoring protocol and data logging.

An initial workshop was conducted by O.S.E.A.N in October 2019 in Labuan Bajo, on Flores island in East Indonesia. In October 2021 IWP team conducted a second monitoring in the same 5 locations with guidance from OSEAN team. Report will be published in December 2021.

Capacity building Workshop 30 April – 1 May 2022

Capacity building & public awareness. A 2-day Citizen Science workshop was held on 30 April (theory) and 1 May (fieldwork) 2022 by IWP in collaboration with OSEAN, PEMSEA, Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries of Republic of Korea. Purpose of this workshop : capacity building of citizen scientists on monitoring protocols & consistent data logging. Citizen scientists play an important role in data collection to combat marine litter. Campaigns and policies are based on the data collected. Participants : volunteers who weekly join our community clean-ups in island fishing communities in and around Komodo National Park & teachers from local high schools . The meeting was organised by Marta Muslin (Ica). Supported by Ervis Budisetiawan as MC and translator. Joining via Zoom from Republic of Korea : Jongmyoung Lee is the Chief Science Officer of Our Sea of East Asia Network (OSEAN). He began his career as an environmental activist by establishing ‘Sacheon Federation for Environmental Movement’ in 2000. He began involved in a citizen marine debris monitoring program in 2002. He moved to Korea Marine Rescue Center to work with volunteer scuba divers in 2007. He joined Our Sea of East Asia Network (OSEAN) in 2009. He has been committed to many marine debris research projects which include organizing International Coastal Cleanup in Korea, and policy analysis for national and local governments.
All participants received a certificate of participation. One participant received the Certificate of Trainer : Savri Mozart. Savri received training in our earlier workshop and is now a certified trainer. Savri Mozart is a certified dive instructor and stated that this scientific data collection is very important for the dive sector.
For more info please contact Marta Muslin


Asia Pacific Civil Forum on Marine Litter – Marine Litter News – Volume 13 · Issue 2 · December 2021 – The Important Role of Citizen Science to Combat Marine Litter and Ways It Can Transform Research

Citizen science in the field

Achievements of 3 year project “Strengthening and Improving Marine Litter Response in Indonesia” supported by O.S.E.A.N., Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries Republic of Korea, Korea Marine Environment Corporation. The program includes capacity building of citizens engaging in science, monitoring methodology, reporting, development of campaigns to reduce marine litter.

Campaign development

We developed campaign materials for socialisation about the need to reduce single-use plastics, based on the data we collected in our citizen program. One campaign addresses single-use plastic used in subsistence fisheries .