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 Why We Collect Cleanup Data: 

 At Water Warrior Alliance, we believe in transparency and accountability. The collection of cleanup data serves multiple crucial purposes: 

1.  Environmental Impact Assessment: 

 We analyze the data to understand the extent of pollution in water bodies. This helps us assess the environmental impact and prioritize areas in need of urgent attention. 

2.  Strategic Planning: 

 The data guides our strategic initiatives, allowing us to deploy resources efficiently. By identifying patterns and trends, we can develop targeted cleanup efforts and implement preventative measures. 

3.  Community Engagement:  

Cleanup data fosters community engagement by providing tangible evidence of the positive change our volunteers and supporters contribute. It encourages a sense of shared responsibility and environmental stewardship.

 4.  Educational Insights:  

We utilize the collected data to create educational materials and raise awareness about water pollution. It empowers individuals and communities with knowledge to make informed decisions for a cleaner, healthier environment. 

 How We Use Cleanup Data: 

 1.  Policy Advocacy: 

 Aggregated data helps us advocate for stronger environmental policies at local and global levels. By presenting evidence of pollution trends, we aim to influence decision-makers to implement regulations that protect our water ecosystems.

 2.  Scientific Research:  

Researchers and scientists collaborate with us to analyze the data for academic studies. This collaboration contributes to a broader understanding of environmental challenges and potential solutions. 

3.  Continuous Improvement:  

Regularly reviewing cleanup data enables us to refine our strategies. We learn from each cleanup event, adapting and evolving our methods to maximize impact and minimize our ecological footprint. 

4.  Impact Measurement:  

We use the data to measure the effectiveness of our cleanup campaigns. Tracking progress over time allows us to celebrate achievements and motivate our community to persist in their efforts. By actively participating in data collection and supporting Adopt a Watergoat, you become an integral part of our mission to create a cleaner, healthier environment for current and future generations. Together, we can turn data into meaningful action!

The Escaped Trash Assessment Protocol (ETAP), developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Trash Free Waters program, is a quantitative survey tool which provides a standard method for collecting and assessing litter data. The protocol is designed to be applied to a broad range of site types— e.g., parks, streets, parking lots, etc. — and environmental conditions — e.g., various hydrological and climatic regimes. This highly adaptable method for trash monitoring will provide practitioners and citizen scientists with a comprehensive and rigorous method for quantifying trash loadings. The tool can also be used to assess item age and level of fouling and analyze and compare across specific material types and categories of trash collected. This information can eventually be used to guide upstream source reduction decisions.

Download  The Escaped Trash Assessment Protocol Reference Manual (pdf) (2.49 MB, April 2021, EPA-841-R-21-003)  for background information about the problem of aquatic trash and to learn how the ETAP tool can be used to address a wide range of management questions. The Reference Manual includes a step-by-step guide of how to use the protocol as well as an appendix of several supplementary materials.  

The Escaped Trash Assessment Protocol (ETAP) Excel Spreadsheet Tool (xlsx) is a data entry tool which can be used in company with the ETAP Reference Manual to record, manage, and analyze data collected in the field using the ETAP methodology. 

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