APPROACH AND METHODOLOGY
Project Kaisei will be launching this initiative with Magaskawee and Ojingo Labs who will be the technology partners/advisors for the buildout of such a platform. Weather Underground will be the supplier of the global rainfall data, which allows for updated rainfall information every six hours. Eco Layers will be the backend, open-source platform that is tailored to meet the goals of this platform vis-?-vis ocean debris generation. Google Earth will be the overlay mapping module that will allow global visibility and use of this application. Once this platform is built, subsequent fields of data and information can be included in the future in order to allow the tracking of pollutants other than floating marine debris.
IMPLEMENTATION, TIMELINE, AND DELIVERABLES
The first platform will be launched in March 2011 at the UN/NOAA global Marine Debris Conference in Hawaii. Once it is up and running, deliverables will be ongoing as communities begin to focus on rivers in a more coherent fashion, realizing that rivers contribute to pollution in their own coastal areas, which can then impact local ecosystems. Simultaneously, as new economic models for waste recovery, recycling and re-use are initiated by local entrepreneurs, governments or multinationals, waste streams from rivers can potentially be considered a source of feedstock until solutions 'at source' are provided. If an economic value can be shown to exist for waste material, this platform can help to enable local 'collectors' near the shore, or fisherman near the coast, to gather debris for use in the recycling process. Capturing/collecting debris closer to the source, as opposed to doing so in the open ocean once it has disbursed and has potentially caused more harm to the ecosystem, will be more efficient for all involved. Communities will begin to include information on their own rivers so that daily monitoring can take place.
Initially, this is not about collecting debris, thought that is a side benefit. The main goal is about awareness, and the fact that debris is coming out of the ocean. 12-18 months later, we would then hope that increased collection starts taking place, and within 3 years, permanent programs are in place for collection, and either recycling or waste-to-fuel technologies to create an economic cycle of community involvement that can continue to keep plastic debris from entering the ocean.
The success of the project will be assessed by the number of river communities that are actively participating on the platform. With updated information, local authorities will know that they either are doing a good job in their territory for waste prevention, or, have more work to do. It will also be possible to monitor success by the amount of debris collected (in weight) by local fisherman once this system is put into place. We expect that the reduction of waste will be in the thousands of tons.
For the purposes of this commitment we will launch and run the project through 2014, however our intention is to run this program year over year past 2014 as resources allow.
Project Kaisei's Global Ocean Alert System will bring focus to the world's rivermouths and the outflow of waste that is going into the ocean today. The main initial focus will be on plastic and floating man-made waste that has the potential to be re-used for recycling or fuel. By stopping this waste from entering the ocean at the point of outflow, the costs associated with broad ocean cleanup can be greatly reduced. It is estimated by the UN that roughly 80% of all marine debris and plastic waste that is in the ocean comes from land-based sources (UNEP - GESAMP 1991). Much of this is due to a lack of waste management facilities and infrastructure, where rivers are used as the 'plumbing and waste management mechanism' for those communities. By deploying an Ocean Alert System, based on rainfall and flood data, along with community reporting/grading, we will be able to create a 'neighborhood watch' program on a Google Earth overlay which will allow communities around the world to understand their contribution to ocean health, and take action to improve it. This platform will also allow for open-sourced scientific, research and governmental participation in standardized monitoring and best practices for controlling the increase in the creation of marine debris from land-based sources.
Ocean Recovery Alliance is looking for partners with financial resources, implementing partners, media support, and collaborators. This will include launch and outreach efforts, education and training for stakeholders around the world, as well as operational support for scale and translation of platform and app into all of the six UNEP official languages, and more, if the resources are available. It will also eventually include a crowdsourced funding option for supporting local communities for trash abatement and catchment programs.