California Trash Data Dive 2021
The California Trash Data Dive is an annual forum for data scientists, environmental planners, trash regulators, land use experts, and advocates for environmental justice to discuss and collaborate on trash data & policy. The goal of the Data Dive is to use trash data effectively to drive improved and equitable social and environmental outcomes. This year, Data Dive participants will spend 2 days building and sharing technological, policy, and storytelling innovations leading towards less trash in our communities.
On October 28-29th, 2021, the State Water Resources Control Board’s Office of Information Management and Analysis held the fifth annual California Trash Data Dive virtually using Zoom. Videos of the 2-day event are available on the California Water Quality Monitoring Council’s Youtube page. The majority of the Data Dive was spent in 4, ~1.5 hour breakout sessions on the following topics:
- Assessing Utility of Track 2 Trash Amendment Data Collection Strategies Throughout California
- Remote ecosystem to tell trash stories
- Machine learning to make trash data clean
A big shoutout to this year’s breakout group facilitators, who provided hours of small group engagement working with trash data: Dr. Win Cowger, Gary Conley, Jarma Bennett, Dr. Julian Fulton, Shelly Moore, Sarah Hutmacher, Walter Yu & Dr. Tony Hale.
In addition to the breakout groups, the Data Dive hosted 1 keynote speaker and 2 invited presentations from outside groups over the 2 days:
- Captain Charles Moore, Moore Institute for Plastic Pollution Research
- Keynote: A testimony on plastic pollution (previously given to the US House of Representative’s Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment) and keynote from the Plastic Health Summit (Amsterdam, 2021)
- Raina Saboo, Sujit Sanjeev, and Robert Little, Google (“A sustainability team at Google focused on creating a world without waste”)
- Presentation: A demonstration of trash detection and quantification leveraging Google Street View data
- Michelle Alexander, Sagent Marketing
- Presentation: Caltrans Stormwater Public Education Campaign
The primary outcomes of this event included:
- Some accessible tools to help analysts and others interested in visualizing trash data dive into code that leverages some recent innovations. These tools are linked in the AI/ML breakout group slide deck.
- A pilot Story Map on Trash Monitoring in California, with the intention of adding only information on the type of data collected, who was collecting it, and where. We are not far enough along at this point to share what we have with everyone but are hopeful to build out more in the future. Contact Shelly Moore for more information on developing this remote ecosystem for trash stories.
- A data flow map and schema for trash amendment data, available in this slide deck from the Track 2 Trash Amendment breakout group.
- A discussion of major learnings and mapped bottlenecks from trash amendment data so far.
How do I stay involved?
- Join the California Trash Monitoring Workgroup! Instructions to receive email updates from this workgroup are available on the workgroup website.
- Walter Yu & Win Cowger are seeking volunteers on Trash AI as part of Code for America (Sacramento brigade). This is a good opportunity to work on a real-life project, and the brigade provides onboarding for new members. Learn more by attending the brigade’s weekly project nights via Meetup, or email Walter Yu for more information.
- Attend upcoming trash data events! Email Corey Clatterbuck to be added to a trash data event mailing list.
Where are the past trash data events?
2018 Trash Data Dive Resources
February 2021 Trash Data Dive
Other Trash Datathon Resources