• Open
  • Closing date: 28 April 2022


The mission of The Ocean Cleanup is to develop and scale technologies to rid the world's oceans of plastic. To do so, we must first understand the plastic pollution problem. The research team at The Ocean Cleanup is working to identify and measure the global hotspots of plastic pollution. The areas and timescales of plastic accumulation depend on diverse environmental processes. After washing ashore, beaches, coastlines, and riverbanks are predicted to act as a sink or landing point for plastic. Still, more monitoring efforts are needed to quantify and characterize these hotspots. We have developed a protocol to be used by citizen scientists worldwide to monitor beaches and coastlines for plastic pollution every month.  


We are looking for dedicated and enthusiastic citizen scientists to conduct beach sampling for plastic debris along the coastline. Using the protocol we have developed, the sampling can be conducted in conjunction with local beach cleanup initiatives and is designed to engage motivated citizens and allow them to better understand the beach's role in the distribution of global plastic waste. The role of the citizen scientist is to sample a 100 meter stretch of beach plastic debris for macro ( >5 cm), and 60 cm X 60 cm quadrant for meso (5 - 0.5 cm), and micro (0.5 – 0.05 cm) debris. Once sampled, the citizen scientists will display and photograph the samples. The images will then be processed using an algorithm to quantify, characterize, and classify the plastic debris. We will upload the data to a portal where the citizen scientists – and our researchers – can compare and investigate the plastic fluxes on the chosen beaches.  

The selected citizen scientist will need to invest a minimum of 10 hours per month to participate in the sampling campaign. The monthly sampling includes the transportation to/from the site, the physical sampling, the characterization of the plastic, the uploading of images, and bi-monthly meetings with our research team at The Ocean Cleanup (30 minutes). We will also provide a portable sampling kit that includes all of the equipment needed and provide assistance to guide you throughout the project.  


  • Experience with field work and with following a scientific protocol
  • Experience or connections with local NGOs working on plastic pollution  
  • Interest in getting involved with local plastic pollution organizations and with a citizen science project 
  • Access to the same beach once a month for field work and/or have easy access to a highly polluted river mouth in the region 
  • Need to have a phone with a sufficient camera to take pictures and then upload them on the website 


  • Physically fit (able to walk on the beach for long hours)  
  • Able to carry appx. 12 kgs/26 lbs  
  • At least 18 years old
  • Excellent communication skills 
  • English speaker and/or fluent in English 
  • Native speaker of a language other than English 
  • Living nearby a beach is required 
  • Scientific integrity 
  • Intrinsic motivation to work on our ambitious and meaningful goal 
  • As a citizen scientist for The Ocean Cleanup, you should act in line with the mission 
  • Able to have support for sampling (one person per sampling day)  
  • Have a reliable means of transportation

Do you know others who would like to help expand the understanding of the beach's role in distributing plastic pollution? Please refer them to this application, or let us know where best to find the motivated and passionate people this project needs.   

Conducting a pre-employment check is part of our recruitment process.

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