Öland | Photo: Adobe Stock

Marine debris is a big problem along the world’s coasts. But there are many good initiatives to take care of everything that floats ashore. One example is the Clean East Coast project in Sweden, which includes Kalmar County’s coastal municipalities, Valdemarsvik and Söderköping and is coordinated by Västervik municipality. With the help of an app and an interactive map, it is easy for everyone to mark where cleaning is needed or where a cleaning activity has been done – or to invite to a joint cleaning activity. The app makes it easy for everyone to contribute to a cleaner coast!

Frida Solli, a sustainability educator in Västervik municipality, says:

– The Clean East Coast project – “Ren Ostkust” – has been developed from a beach cleaning project that started in 2012 on the West Coast of Sweden. The project is funded by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency and is a collaboration between Borgholm, Kalmar, Mönsterås, Mörbylånga, Oskarshamn, Söderköping, Torsås, Valdemarsvik and Västervik. In addition to the map and app making it easier for everyone who helps to clean, it also makes it easier for the municipalities to take care of the litter that has been picked up. We also get valuable information about how much litter is picked up over time. Everything counts!

More efficient handling

The app “Ren Ostkust” is free and can be downloaded from Google Play and the AppStore. But you can also find the map on the web here.

– The app makes it easier for everyone who wants to clean through the easy-to-use map and because it is easy to document the cleaning activities with text and pictures, for example, if you find environmentally hazardous waste or dead animals, says Frida Solli.

For the municipalities that are part of the collaboration, it is easy also on the “inside”, where Infracontrol Online is used to receive and handle the reported cases.

Naturum Västervik is the coordinator for beach cleaning and can also help arrange cleaning activities. There is also equipment for beach cleaners, such as garbage bags, disposable gloves and picking sticks.

In addition, there are free bags for beach cleaners at a number of other places in the municipality; see the Västervik website.

The app Ren Ostkust (Clean East Coast) is easy to use and gives beach cleaners and municipalities valuable support in the vital work of keeping the east coast of Sweden clean.

Everyone can contribute!

Marine debris has become a massive problem at sea and along our coasts. The work with beach cleaning is carried out by the municipalities’ staff, procured contractors, several non-profit organizations and not least all voluntary private individuals and associations. Jonas Bratt, project manager at Infracontrol, has been involved in various beach cleaning activities together with Kode Scout Corps:

– Beach cleaning is not just about picking up the most obvious, says Jonas. It is also important to see all the smaller objects such as caps, small pieces of plastic bags, straws and small pieces of ropes. These objects, among many others, pose a danger to seabirds and animals.

Jonas and his scouts have benefited greatly from the beach cleaning app and the map Strandstädarkartan.

– The app has made it easier for beach cleaners to mark where it has been cleaned and where the bags are placed so they can be picked up, says Jonas.

He says it is also easy to set up an activity and encourage others to participate. Lastly, it makes it easier for anyone who sees a beach or bay that needs to be cleaned to mark this on the map.