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Citizen Scientists Needed to Count & Collect Plastic Pollution

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Xstream Cleanup and Mississippi River Plastic Pollution Initiative
The logo for the Mississippi River Plastic Pollution Initiative

This month, people who live in the Quad Cities can help study plastic pollution in the Mississippi River. It's phase two of a study by the Mississippi River Cities and Town Initiative and its partners.

Megan Fox, from the Scott County Waste Commission, says people who want to help should install a smartphone app called the "Marine Debris Tracker." Details are on the Xstream Cleanup website including a link to download the app and a local map so show people where to go to collect data and pick up litter.

All the data collected will help policy makers, businesses, and others decide how to reduce plastic pollution in rivers, the Gulf of Mexico, and oceans.

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Xstream Cleanup

Through the end of October, people can collect data on their own, or as part of an Xstream Cleanup day. The organization's "Citizen Science" page also includes dates for events in the Quad Cities and how to conduct a data and debris collection. Bettendorf Mayor Bob Gallagher kicked off the local effort on October 1st in the video below.

The first phase included three pilot cities, Baton Rouge, St. Louis, and St. Paul.

Besides the mayors' group (MRCTI), key partners in the Mississippi River Plastic Pollution Initiative are the United Nations Environment Programme, National Geographic Society, and University of Georgia.

Local groups involved in the Quad Cities tracking project include:

  • The cities of Bettendorf, Davenport, Riverdale, Coal Valley, East Moline, Moline, and Rock Island
  • Levee Commission/Riverfront Improvement Commission
  • Partners of Scott County Watershed
  • Nahant Marsh
  • Progressive Action for the Common Good
  • QC Trails
  • Scott County Health Department
  • US Army Corps of Engineers - Rock Island District
  • Visit Quad Cities
  • Xstream Cleanup
  • Davenport North and West High Schools
  • Rock Island Arsenal Child Development Center
  • Augustana College
  • 1 Mississippi/Mississippi River Network
  • Iowa State Office of Sustainability and the Environment
  • Moline and Bettendorf Rotaries
  • QC Interfaith
  • Rock Island County Soil & Water Conservation District
  • River Action

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