Innovations for Learning about Conservation | WWF Hong Kong

Innovations for Learning about Conservation

07 November 2017

WWF, in collaboration with MakerBay, designed a GPS tracking device to see where litter that enters the sea through our inland storm drains and rivers ends up. The students, recruited from 11 schools to become citizen scientists and help trace the movements of litter, found the tracing process both educational and rewarding, right from the first step of producing a workable GPS tracker.

The GPS tracking device is part of the ECF Sea Without Litter project, created to deal with the issue of marine litter at its source. This includes educating businesses and members of the public and looking for long-term solutions.

A lot of litter generated on land actually ends up in the ocean – but how? With the help of our citizen scientists, WWF traced the movements of litter and provided recommendations on dealing with the issue, by using GPS technology.

The GPS tracker consists of four main parts: a battery, a sim card with an internet connection, a circuit board and a waterproof outer shell. During the creation of the tracker, different kinds of materials were tested for the outer shell to make the tracker as small and light as possible. These included coconut shells and water pipes.

The students took part in a tracker production workshop, outdoor surveys and a survey evaluation workshop. Each of the schools selected a river or storm drain near it premises to release the trackers. Locations include Tai O, Kwai Chung, Tuen Mun, Yuen Long, Tin Shui Wai, Sheung Shui, Kwun Tong, Sai Kung, Sha Tin and Tai Po. After a month, many of the trackers had arrived locations quite far away from where they had been released. One of the trackers made it as far as Taipei, Taiwan! The project helped confirm that the cause of marine litter is not limited to activities on the sea, but also onshore human activities.

This project gave the students a unique learning experience using technology to tackle conservation issues in their daily lives issues and encourages them to share their findings with their peers and community. Through education, we anticipate a generation which will be more aware of its resources consumption and ways to reduce.