You can help scientists track plastic pollution and air quality as part of Earth Challenge 2020 by making simple observations from your home and recording them on a phone app.

The Earth Day Network, Wilson Center and U.S. Department of State are partnering on a global citizen science initiative to demonstrate how small acts of science can add up to global change. By using a mobile app and open citizen science data, Earth Challenge 2020 will gather data on these two climate issues.

“As a citizen, it feels good to report about something that’s bothering you,” said Kathleen Rogers of Earth Day Network. “A continuous feed of information at volume and at a global scale will make these issues impossible to ignore.”

The data submitted will be validated by machine algorithms and expert reviewers. Then the database of more than one-billion data points will be displayed on a public map and made available as open data for researchers to use.

To participate, go to Earth Challenge 2020 to download the app. Then start tracking plastic pollution and air quality data from your window or front porch. There are also options for posting videos and social media interactions.

Photo: Bo Eide / CC