Project Report:
Creating Economic Tools to Address Debris & Plastic Pollution in Vietnam
- Investigates the causes of economic imbalances.
- Explores and develops market-based solutions.


To prepare for building out the capacity of to meet the growing needs of citizen science projects around the world, we are adding a language translation feature. Anecdata already has many valuable features including mapping, photo uploading, and data visualization. After the language translation feature is in place, we will add civic action tools to promote civic action among project participants from around the world. The focus of this project will be on debris in coastal cities of Vietnam. The new tools will enable Vietnamese speakers to participate in citizen science projects to clean up debris and instantly see the economic benefit of their actions. Armed with this information, citizens may be able to get local governments to take action to help eliminate sources of debris that might ultimately end up in the marine environment.


A project called "Solid Waste Reconnaissance" has been set up on Anecdata. Project leaders plan to expand the project to include recording of outcomes from solid waste CLEANUP as well. Progress is being made with Vietnamese team members to translate all English text in the Anecdata app to Vietnamese.

In order to make it easier to translate Anecdata into other languages in the future, we have created a page on the Anecdata website where we ask users to tell us what languages they speak, and they can then enter translations of our English-language text (see the screenshot below). We will download translation files directly from Anecdata and insert them into future builds of the Anecdata app.

This will greatly reduce the effort required to launch Anecdata projects in non-English-speaking countries in the future.

We have been working to design datasheets for the collection of debris and plastic pollution data. We have built in new functionality into Anecdata so that we can filter the data in the "Solid Waste Reconnaissance" project based on the datasheet that is used. This way, project leaders and participants can define and determine the data output, whether it is pre-survey information, litter reconnaissance, litter cleanup, or all data.

Keep Hanoi Clean (KHC) will soon be launching an initiative to support do-it-yourself cleanups in pairs or small groups (COVID social-distancing compatible) that do not require massive organizational support from KHC. People can get a DIY cleanup kit (reusable trash collection bags, gloves and stainless steel tongs) from food and beverage shops around town, then they will use to register their cleanup event and the results (how many bags of trash picked up, etc.). This will feed into the overall mission of the organization as well as the particular push to get a Province-wide view of the solid waste situation.

Because this project can work anywhere, project leaders at Key-Log Economics hope to push the project out globally through various zero waste group's fan pages, with NGOs list serves, etc. The "Solid Waste Reconnaissance" project can be used anywhere; we hope we can see how it works not only in SE Asia, but also in the U.S., in Latin America, in Europe, and in Africa.

We are in the planning stage of developing components of the Anecdata website to display an overall economic impact of litter that gets identified during reconnaissance or economic benefit from clean-up efforts. After users have shared data on their work, the app will use internal data models to predict the economic benefit of their cleanup activity, or the cost of inaction if observed debris is not cleaned up.

Language translations are being crowdsourced from Anecdata users.
Language translations are being crowdsourced from Anecdata users.


Investigate Causes of Economic Imbalances: Economic imbalances exist where plastic pollution and other environmental problems affect human health, safety, and livelihoods. is an online tool to help individuals and organizations create projects, and collect, share, and visualize data in order to mitigate problems, effect change, and address economic imbalances in communities.

Explore and Develop Market-Based Solutions: will help organizations explore and develop market-based solutions to problems like plastic pollution in coastal areas, sea level rise, ocean acidification, and coastal flooding. The Anecdata platform has applications beyond collecting environmental data and can be used to crowdsource information in public health or economics, for example, on emerging diseases or economic impact of marine debris.

Scope is a “next-generation” online data portal, with a unique feature set. We have made the site free and openly available for other organizations to create citizen science and other projects, invite users, and manage and share environmental data. The site is already host to 186 projects from around the world, with nearly 7400 users. Several of these projects relate directly to coastal and marine debris issues. Anecdata has the potential to host thousands of projects across the world. We plan to build out the capacity of to meet the growing data management needs of numerous organizations working on the front lines of environmental change. In order to promote action on marine debris and other issues, we will add a civic action toolkit, including economic and international language tools, to the website.

Information Dissemination

This project will be advertised with groups in Hanoi such as Keep Hanoi Clean (KHC) to garner participation in solid waste reconnaissance and debris clean-up projects. The MDI Biological Laboratory will write press releases and feature this project on our website. Anecdata will use social media platforms for sharing and post progress on the CitSci listserv.

Project Link

Amount Approved
$11,000.00 on 12/9/2019 (Check sent: 12/17/2019)

  Related Organizations
MDI Biological Laboratory  

Solid Waste Reconnaissance Project in Vietnam
Language translations are being crowdsourced from Anecdata users.
Solid Waste Thumbnail

159 Old Bar Harbor Road
Bar Harbor , ME 04609

After driving onto Mt. Desert Island, bear left to stay on Route 3. Drive about 4 miles, then turn left onto Old Bar Harbor Road at sign for the Lab. Turn left again onto Biol Lab Road and continue straight to parking area.

(207) 288-9880 ext 125


Dr. Jane Disney
Eelgrass Project Co-Manager
Judy Sproule
Deputy Director of Development, Mt. Desert Island Biological Laboratory

Posted 12/4/2019 5:53 PM
Updated   5/15/2021 4:41 PM

  • Nonprofit

Solid Waste Reconnaissance Project in Vietnam
Solid Waste Reconnaissance Project in Vietnam

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