Coastal Litter Monitoring in Northland

For several years the regional council has trialled litter surveys and methodologies, and has now collaborated with external organisations to provide two free and easy ways to help map and reduce litter in our waterways.

National Standard Litter Monitoring

The council now uses the Sustainable Coastlines Citizen Science Litter Monitoring Programme which is backed by the Ministry for the Environment in-conjunction with the Department of Conservation and Statistics New Zealand. This survey takes place four times a year and contributes robust data to New Zealand’s first national beach litter database, meaning the information collected reaches those that need it for decision-making. The litter monitoring site is in the Upper Hātea River, Whangārei Harbour.

Map displaying litter monitoring site along Hatea River.
Northland Regional Council Litter Monitoring Site, Hātea River.

Te Taitokerau Debris Monitoring Project

Northland Regional Council and NorthTec have created an easy way to report and display litter along Northland’s waterways using the Marine Debris Tracker app.

The app is free, works offline and maps litter items collected using your device’s in-built GPS. The Te Taitokerau Debris Monitoring Project litter categories are paired with the Sustainable Coastlines Citizen Science Litter Monitoring and the International UNEP/IOC Guidelines.

Visit the Marine Debris Tracker website to download the app and start tracking

Map showing monitoring sites and results.
An example of the Te Taitokerau Debris Monitoring Project map using Marine Debris Tracker at Whangaumu Bay.

Which project is right for my group?

Sustainable Coastlines Citizen Science Litter Monitoring Programme

  • Must be undertaken four times a year, for at least 3 years
  • Minimum of 3 people from your group to attend the workshop
  • Beach/coast you would like to monitor e.g. Ninety Mile Beach
  • 108 sites around New Zealand for long-term data and playing a critical role in proving the litter problem and helping to prioritise solutions.

Interested in starting a group, learning more and getting workshop information for this project?
Visit the Sustainable Coastlines website for citizen science workshop information

Te Taitokerau Debris Monitoring Project

  • Can be done anytime
  • App is easy to install and use (Android and Apple)
  • Can be done as an individual or as a group
  • Categories compatible to Sustainable Coastlines Citizen Science Litter Monitoring Programme

Want to learn more and start tracking?
Visit the Marine Debris Tracker website to find out how to start tracking

If you are submitting data publicly using this project, please copy (cc) your data to tttdmproject@gmail.com 

Want to muck in and clean up?

For Our Real Clean Environment (F.O.R.C.E) run the ‘Love Whangārei Monthly Clean Ups’ at different locations around Whangārei and work towards more waste minimization projects. You can check them out at:
www.force.org.nz

Sea Cleaners

Sea Cleaners remove rubbish from the sea, harbours and oceans. To get involved, go to:
seacleaners.com

Other information

The international guidelines and the council's report on the litter monitoring trial are available below:

People collecting litter along a river bank.

Sustainable coastline cleanup along the Hātea River