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Mobile App FAQs


Thank you for using our Global Alert mobile app so that you can provide important data on trash hot-spots along our waterways to stakeholders in your community.  The following FAQs will help you with any questions you may have about using the app in the most efficient way.  

Global Alert was developed through funding provided by the Global Partnership for Oceans (GPO), and under the strategic objectives of the Plastic Waste Management Program, as part of the GPO Pollution Component.


We have added a cool feature thanks to Adrift in Australia, which allows you to simulate where your trash will go if it reaches the ocean.  This is based on real ocean current flow data, so all you need to do is either click on a pin which is along the coastline, or, pretend that you are loading a new trash hot-spot pin, and place that somewhere along the coastline where you want to see the impacts from.  Then in the grey drop-down box which will appear when you click into the pin or place a new pin, you should click on the "Adrift: Ocean Waste Simulator" link.  This will then take you to a new screen which will show an animation of where your trash will go if it goes out to sea.  This is an incredible tool for stakeholders or educators to better understand the impacts of trash when it gets into the ocean in an area near them.   NOTE:  If for some reason the Ocean Waste Simulator does not work, it could be because your "pin" is not placed in the ocean far enough for the modeled simulator currents to "notice" the pin.  In this case, simply move the pin by dropping a new one a bit farther off the coastline, and into the ocean water (you need not upload complete data for this pin, as it is just for demonstrating the current-flow impacts on the spot).  Some bays and inlets may not be "noticed" by the simulator, so a pin will need to be placed slightly farther into the open sea from that point in order to create the simulation. 

  • FAQ: VIEW TRASH SITE How do I filter the data that I see on the map? Is it only possible to see all the data at once?
    For now, you cannot filter search queries on the mobile app. If you need to perform detailed searches or analysis, load up the desktop application at The mobile app allows users to easily view trash sites, and report trash sites that are seen in your daily activities, or when taking part in a study or clean-up. The desktop app lets you export maps, filter searches, or analyze data in case you want more information to be captured for reports, surveys or influencing other stakeholders.
  • How do I see the pictures of the trash at a previously recorded trash site?
    Tap a trash site icon (pin) to view more information including pictures. In settings, if you uncheck the box, you will not download photos when in the field (this is to save on download time/cost)
  • FAQ: ADD TRASH SITE Wherever I see trash, should I report this to Global Alert?
    No. We created Global Alert with the aim to improve our waterways and coastlines by focusing on trash hotspots. This information is most useful to community stakeholders if only large sections of trash (more than one meter/yard in length, for example, but not single items of trash). We want to know about sources of trash and prioritize waste which is “at risk” near watersheds. This way we can help to identify the source of the litter, while preventing more trash from heading downstream. The Global Alert platform is not meant for highlighting or understanding types or locations of single pieces of trash, but instead, for large sections of it which can justify different clean-up, catchment or ongoing prevention methods. Please do not report trash that is more than 100m (300ft) from water via Global Alert.
  • How do I Place a Pin for a Trash Site?
    Once you enter data on the Enter Trash Site button, there is a button on the top right named “Place Pin”. This will allow you to drag/drop a green pin onto the location where you saw the trash. It is important that you zoom into the map and put it in the most accurate location of where the trash was found on the map.
  • Can I upload later if I am not able to connect to the internet?
    Yes, you can click “Upload Later” in order to upload your trash sites once you are in internet or wifi range. If you have uploads which have not been submitted, you will be reminded to check pending uploads so that they can be sent to the platform.
  • Why do I need to enter my e-mail and phone number?
    We will not use your personal information for any kind of marketing, but it will allow the Global Alert team or steward groups in the region to contact you if any sit or photo verification is needed. For example, you post a trash site that includes hazardous waste but the picture was a little blurry, the local steward group group might need to email you to ask which kind of hazardous waste it was exactly for proper removal. If you include detailed comments of complicated trash sites that you locate, this will minimize the need for contact.
  • What is a Steward Region (or Steward Group)?
    A Steward Region is where a stakeholder group in the community (NGO, University, government, Rotary Club, Chamber of Commerce or other community group) is taking care of their watershed or coastline. There can be multiple Steward Groups within the same region. We rely on the steward groups to help verify images and locations of sites which you post, which is why we need to know how to reach you. Don’t worry, this information will only be shared with Steward Groups who care about making improvements for their watersheds and coastlines (those who are on the same caring “team” that you are on!).
  • How will my personal data be used?
    Personal data will not be used, sold or given to any groups other than the steward group in the watershed or coastal area that you are reporting in. In order to be a verified Steward Group on the Global Alert platform, they have agreed not to use this data with any other third parties.
  • Do I need to add all 3 images?
    No. However, more images will help identify your location, and help to show the waste that is in the water or the shoreline.
  • If the trash I report is along the waterline on a shore, does this qualify as “On Land” or “In the Water”?
    This would be “On Land.” We realize that high water, or high tides might wash this away, but for the time that you see it, it is on land, and this is information which can help the stewards in your area. On land = If more than 90% of the material rests on solid ground. In the water = If more than 90% of the material is floating on top of the water or is partially submerged on land, for example in a wetland pond. Underwater = If 80% of the material is submerged in water.
  • How many pieces of trash qualify as a reportable trash site?
    We are not looking for individual pieces of trash, instead we must find the sources and waste hot-spots. Generally, an area that is at least 1 meter long (1 yard), and with “tens” of pieces qualifies as a trash site. The bigger the trash sites, the more we need Global Alert reporting!
  • I’m not sure about the weight, how do I estimate this without picking it all up?
    We know that you cannot perfectly measure the weight; we just need a rough guess so we know the right level of cleanup that might be needed. Just try your best to guess based on the number of items or size of the “mess.” Here are a few quick references for weight: Item Average Weight 100 plastic bags 2000g (1lb) 1 plastic bottle 40g (1.4oz) 200ml glass bottle 150g (5.4oz) Metal drink can 35g (1.2oz) White foam cooler 90g (3.7oz) So, if you found 30 bags, 4 bottles, 5 drink cans, and a foam cooler, you could estimate that the site weighs around 2lbs. (For a quick reference to estimate sizes/weights, you can click here (hyperlink to this site:
  • What qualifies as an impacted shoreline?
    At least 3 pieces of trash per square meter counts as a littered shoreline. Why a square meter? This is roughly the space a person needs at the beach, or to picnic along a river. If you cannot lay your blanket down due to garbage, then we have a problem.
  • How big is a “bucket” of trash?
    You know those big white or sometimes orange buckets maintenance or construction workers use? Often they are called “painters buckets”. Those hold 5 gallons, or 20 liters, so imagine that you are picking up the trash and putting it in one of those.
  • Do I have to enter all geographic information (my country doesn’t have states)?
    There is no need to enter all information, but the more you can do, the better for filtering data in the future.
  • How can I view the trash site after I’ve submitted the data?
    We need to verify the photo and location before we make it “live.” – We hope you understand. We will aim to have these sites live within 24 hours of you reporting them. Then: 1) Go to the main menu and select “View Trash Site”. 2) In the top right corner select “View List” 3) Your data point will be at the top of the list.
  • CLEAN-UP SITES How can I show that a clean-up occured at the site which was posted as a trash hot-spot?
    If you have posted a pin for a trash hotspot, you can login to your own "pins" and then modify them when a clean-up occurs. Simply click on the "My Sites" icon on the top banner, and enter your email. Once your email is verified, you need to click the blue icon/square on the left panel, called "My Sites." This will bring up your pin that you have dropped (site) will be able to be modified (they will be Blue in color). Go to the pin where you want to show Clean-up data, and click "Enter Cleanup Site Details." This will then allow you to add clean-up information, and load up to 5 new photos of the site that has been cleaned. Once you save this, the pin will become Green on the main map. If you did NOT load the original pins for the trash site, but you are involved with a clean-up in that location, you can create a new Trash Site pin before your cleanup, with photos of the trash impacted area. You can then re-load the clean-up info to that pin once your clean-up has been completed and that pin has become live on the site.
  • FAQ: GENERAL APP FAQ How will the data I enter help clean up the trash?
    Right now, we don’t know where trash comes from. Sometimes several organizations cleanup the same beach or install waste catchments in the wrong rivers. If we know where the waste is, we can organize more effective cleanups and better drainage catchment systems. Individuals and organizations can also use this information to demonstrate the seriousness of water-borne litter to local or regional governments and the business community.
  • What happens to the data I enter? (not sure what this question means)
    Once entered a trash site is either approved or we will ask you to double check some information before uploading. Once approved, a site will appear on the Global Alert map, there users can download this information onto a google earth (KML) or excel file. Users cannot download personal information such as your name, phone number, or email, we keep this information in case we need to contact you, it is not shared with advertisers.
  • How is my contribution going to help?
    Every trash site added to the map brings us one step closer to ending ocean plastic pollution. When you flag a trash site, your information and data points become very important for other stakeholders in the community to stop this flow of trash. Academic researchers, cleanup and conservation organizations, businesses, schools, and governments of all sizes will be able to use this information to help stop the flow of waste in our seas.
  • What is Global Alert?
    Global Alert is an innovative online tool that will increase interaction and connectivity to the issues of plastic in our waters by allowing users to report, rate and map plastic pollution levels in their watershed and coastlines. By having data of trash hot-spot locations, stakeholders around the world will be able to will broaden awareness, aggregate information flow, and spur solutions to reduce plastic pollution in our waters. Global Alertaccomplishes this by enabling community participation and active stewardship, bringing knowledge and data to the solutions needed for the long term prevention of debris creation and accumulation.
  • Why do we need a Global Alert?
    Some estimates by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) suggest that municipal solid waste may double in size by 2025. As populations grow, and consumption increases, the world’s waste management and recycling infrastructure has not been able to keep up with the increase in waste, leading to increased impacts on our environment and our waters. Global Alert is an international tool to help tackle the problem of plastic waste in our environment, and is something that all of us can use within our own local conditions, in order to be part of the solution. The sum of all the parts will help to bring broad-based improvements in trash impacts on a global scale. Global Alert will shape the way that communities play an integral role in bettering their environments; inspiring cooperation, collaboration and solutions. Together, by using Global Alert, we can leave a legacy of healthy oceans, rivers and engaged communities.

Instructions to Clear Browser Cache

Fire Fox Browser

  1. Press the Control + Shift + Delete key at the same time.

  2. The Clear All History menu appears.

  3. Select the check boxes shown and "Everything" for the "Time Range to Clear."

  4. Click Clear Now.

Chrome Browser

  1. Press the Control + Shift + Delete key at the same time.

  2. The Clear Browsing Data menu appears.

  3. Select the check boxes shown and "beginning of time" for the time range.

  4. Click Clear Browsing Data

Global Alert is an international tool to help tackle the problem of plastic waste in our environment, and is something that all of us can use within our own local conditions, in order to be part of the solution.  The sum of all the parts will help to bring broad-based improvements on a global scale.  Global Alert will shape the way that communities play an integral role in bettering their environments; inspiring cooperation, collaboration and solutions. Together we can leave a legacy of healthy oceans, rivers and engaged communities.

Please sign up here if you would like to be on our mailing list for updates on the Global Alert platform as it is introduced to the public.   .   

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