Litter intelligence assists monitoring of coastal wellbeing

Sustainable Coastlines and Stats NZ are today celebrating Plastics Free July, acknowledging the power of data about litter and the citizen scientists who help collect it, Stats NZ said today.

“Stats NZ has partnered with Sustainable Coastlines over the past few years on the Litter Intelligence project, supporting good data management practice and open data access,” environmental and agricultural statistics senior manager Michele Lloyd said.

“This data was first used as a case study in Our marine environment 2019. I am pleased this data will continue to add value to Ngā Tūtohu Aotearoa – Indicators Aotearoa NZ. The project is a great example of how working together with external partners can provide additional data to reduce data gaps for New Zealand’s wellbeing.”

“The 2021 data shows that 70 percent of New Zealand beach litter is plastic.”

‘Citizen science’ refers to the public participation in scientific research – it includes a non-traditional form of data collection that is contributing significantly to the scientific community. The data collection methodology used by the Litter Intelligence project is based on United Nations guidelines and was co-designed with the Ministry for the Environment, Stats NZ, and the Department of Conservation.

Indicators Aotearoa NZ was developed by Stats NZ as a source of measures for New Zealand’s wellbeing and aims to help monitor progress around social, economic, cultural, and environmental wellbeing. The indicators support the government’s wellbeing vision to provide a more holistic view of wellbeing and sustainable development than a purely economic measure does. Litter Intelligence’s citizen science data is now informing the wellbeing indicator Waste flows in waterways and coastal marine environments. The indicator monitors the amount of waste discharged into coastal areas around New Zealand each year.

Litter Intelligence has more about monitoring litter in New Zealand.

Ngā Tūtohu Aotearoa – Indicators Aotearoa NZ has more information about wellbeing.

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