Texas’s First Litter Database Launches

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As the only database tracking detailed litter information for Texas, this tool will revolutionize how government entities, volunteers, and nonprofits collect and report cleanup data.

HOUSTON, TX  (July 8, 2021) – Keep Texas Beautiful, Black Cat GIS and HARC announce the launch of the first-ever Texas Litter Database, a project funded by The Garver Black Hilyard Family Foundation. Accessible through any smart device or computer, this online tool available at https://txlitter.org/ will enable municipal employees, volunteers and others to better track and analyze litter collected during cleanups.  In addition to regular clean ups, the site introduces Take 2 For Texas, a new fast and easy way to contribute data to the database. 

In 2017, HARC helped convene key stakeholders representing over 25 local nonprofit organizations and government agencies to develop a Galveston Bay Watershed Trash and Litter Action Plan (https://www.donttrashagoodthing.org/) that addresses the problem of trash and litter in the region’s bayous, on its beaches, and in Galveston Bay. The Action Plan also identified the need for a central database that organizes trash and marine debris data such as location, quantity, and type of trash.

Maia Corbitt, Director of Mission and Giving for the Garver Black Hilyard Family Foundation, says “The tools to analyze and compare data from all the great work being done to clean up litter, will help organizations and advocates build solutions that prevent litter in the first place.  The Foundation is really excited to support this project.”   

Since 2019, HARC has been working with the Garver Black Hilyard Family Foundation, Keep Texas Beautiful, and Black Cat GIS to develop new field methodologies to generate much-needed data documenting litter and trash in streams, bayous, reservoirs, and bays of Texas. The team then worked together to develop the first-of-its-kind database that can be used to promote efforts to reduce, remove, and research trash and litter in waterways in the region and beyond.

“We have really enjoyed working with HARC and the Foundation on this project,” says Sara Nichols, KTB Program Director. “We are excited to be able to provide a single repository for Texas litter data that is accessible and can be used for future policy, programmatic and educational purposes.”

 “This project will provide a unique opportunity to better track and report litter collection efforts,” states Dr. Stephanie Glenn, HARC Program Director. “The partnership behind the project is a science-based effort that will result in metrics to inform actionable science.”

“The Texas Litter Database will encourage people to get out and explore waterways around their home. You can’t grasp the scale of the problem until you see it yourself first-hand. Citizen scientists will be contributing invaluable data to help guide litter management and policy decisions, all while making their little corner of Texas cleaner and healthier one cleanup at a time,” says Amanda Hackney of Black Cat GIS.

The Texas Litter Database is accessible online and with any smart device or computer at www.txlitter.org. In addition, the Texas Litter Story Map is an educational tool that provides information about plastic pollution in Texas and instructions on how to use the database. Learn more at www.harcresearch.org/txlitter

About Keep Texas Beautiful
Keep Texas Beautiful (KTB) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to making Texas the best place to live, work, and play by deploying resources for community improvement projects, clean-ups, and youth engagement efforts across the state. Through our Keep Texas Recycling program, we provide assistance and education to support recycling in rural and underserved communities. Everything we do is focused on mobilizing volunteers to take action by providing them with tools, resources, and training. Our fieldwork includes research on best practices for litter reduction along with the development of community programs to prevent the flow of litter to the Gulf. Founded in 1967, Keep Texas Beautiful’s work is driven by its network of nearly 300 affiliate member communities, volunteers, and supporters that reach 17 million Texans annually. For more information and to find your closest affiliate, visit www.ktb.org. Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.

About HARC
HARC is a nonprofit research hub providing independent analysis on energy, air, and water issues to people seeking scientific answers. Its research activities support the implementation of policies and technologies that promote sustainability based on scientific principles. HARC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization building a sustainable future in which people thrive and nature flourishes. For further information, contact HARC at (281) 364-6000 or visit  www.HARCresearch.org. Connect with HARC, via InstagramLinkedInFacebook or Twitter. Like or follow @HARCresearch.

About Black Cat GIS
Black Cat GIS was founded by Amanda Hackney in 2016 to provide solutions to the geospatial demands of the conservation and business communities. Black Cat is a small, woman owned business based in Houston, Texas. For corporate, government and conservation clients who require superior quality mapping products, Black Cat is a consulting firm that will deliver on time, on budget, and exceed client expectations. Experience in the natural resources field has given us a unique and vast set of tools to solve your conservation needs. We specialize in coastal ecosystem research including marine debris analyses, endangered species monitoring, wildlife surveys, erosion and sea level rise estimates, data analysis, and custom mapping.  Learn more about Black Cat, see examples of our work, and information on provided services at www.blackcatgis.com.

About Garver Black Hilyard Family Foundation
The Garver Black Hilyard Family Foundation is dedicated to the promotion and protection of clean, green, natural spaces.

The partnership behind the project is a science-based effort that will result in metrics to inform actionable science.

Dr. Stephanie Glenn, HARC