Jetsam, developed by Company of Makers, Maker’s Guild and Hack Pompey, will be officially launched next month in a bid to up the ante on the perpetual war against single-use plastics.
Photographs of plastic waste taken by users will create a heat map which, when put together with other data, will predict where plastic is going to wash up along the seafront.
The app will be launched as part of the second annual Festival of the Sea, organised by New Theatre Royal.
Co-founder of Portsmouth-based Company of Makers, Steve Bomford, said: ‘Very little is known about the plastic waste on our beaches; where it comes from, what types of plastic, why it appears in certain sea and weather conditions and not others.
‘Jetsam will address this by asking Portsmouth’s residents to photograph plastic waste to create a plastics heat map of our shores.
‘This will be combined with information such as time, tide, wind speed and direction to create a predictive model of where the plastic is going to wash up, thus enabling new and innovative solutions for addressing the environmental challenge of plastic waste in our seas.’
It is hoped that by predicting where the plastic will be, ideas can be developed to intercept the waste before it even reaches the beach.
Jetsam will go through a beta test with Colas, the firm contracted by the council to collect waste in the city.
‘It’s an ambitious idea, but the people of Portsmouth are the key to this’ said Steve.
‘All they have to do is take photos of the plastic and they’ll have made a difference.
‘This could be a real game-changer in the fight against plastic waste.’
The launch event on February 13, The Problem with Plastic (and what to do about it), will be a panel event including speakers such as BBC broadcaster Lucy Siegle and sailor Geoff Holt at New Theatre Royal.
The theatre’s director and CEO Scott Ramsay said: ‘We have a particular responsibility to our oceans as the UK’s only island city.’