Scottish body works on litter monitoring system

Zero Waste Scotland aims to make software with web and mobile platforms available for pilots during 2018

A not-for-profit organisation funded by the Scottish Government is working on the development of a new software to monitor levels of litter with accompanying web and mobile platforms.

Litter in parkZero Waste Scotland – which describes its role as cutting the waste of resources in the country – said it is working with exeGesIS Spatial Data Management to develop the software.

It is aimed at supporting its campaign to make dropping litter and fly tipping socially unacceptable in line with the Scottish Government’s National Litter Strategy.

The organisation said the software will be the first of its kind, enabling organisations to effectively gather, log and monitor information on their area – including the volume, type and location of litter.

It will be linked to a shared central database and infrastructure, making it possible to record information live or stored offline for later input.

Zero Waste Scotland has identified three specific functions:

  • Displaying the location of assigned litter monitoring sites and recording data on cleanliness standards.
  • Allowing additional, selective litter monitoring data to be recorded at locations chosen by the user.
  • The reactive recording of fly tipping incidents as and when they occur.

It plans to use the information to support future activities in litter prevention, as well as generating shareable data that builds a national picture of litter in Scotland.

There are plans for pilots of the software by Scottish local authorities during 2018, with hopes that it will be rolled out more widely to other public sector organisations in the longer term.

exeGesIS has been contracted in a deal worth £210,000 to help develop and test the software, then provide support for an initial two years following deployment.

Million a week

David Barnes, programme manager for litter and fly tipping at Zero Waste Scotland, said: “Dealing with litter and fly tipping costs over a million pounds of public money a week in Scotland – and that’s money that could be better spent on other priority services.

“That’s why the Scottish Government and its agencies, including Zero Waste Scotland, are working to facilitate a shift away from the endless task of clearing up litter and towards preventing it from arising in the first place.

“The new litter software currently in development will be a first for Scotland – enabling the collection of robust data that builds a national picture on litter in Scotland and drives the litter-free nation we all want to see.”

Image by Kleon3, own work, CC BY-SA 4.0