Litter Monitoring

What is litter monitoring?

Litter surveys are conducted by recording the amount and types of litter found at carefully selected locations in various habitats (e.g., on land, in rivers, and on beaches). This information can be used to understand where the most polluted areas are, where the litter is coming from, what the problem litter items are, and how we can address the litter problem.

Litter monitoring involves repeated surveys and tracks changes in litter over time.

Results from
our surveys





Why is Litter Monitoring Important

There is a significant lack of data on litter in Africa. In order to implement impactful strategies to combat the litter crisis, data must be gathered on how much litter there is, where it is accumulating, and where it is coming from. This information provides a baseline – the current state of litter in the environment – against which the success of a litter reduction strategy can be measured.

Developing a litter baseline in Africa, through litter monitoring, is therefore a key step to ensure impactful results are achieved in litter reduction. SST’s litter monitoring project aims to measure and monitor litter on land, in catchments, and on beaches. These results will then be used to guide litter reduction measures and assess how affective these interventions are.

What we’ve been up to

SST Litter research

As part of SST’s litter monitoring research project in Nelson Mandela Bay, the litter monitoring team is undertaking litter surveys on beaches, on land, and in catchments.

Working with other departments

In addition to doing scientific surveys, the litter monitoring team also assists other SST departments with monitoring-related projects. This includes assisting with the development of citizen science training materials, litter datasheets, and data analysis. The team also provides data for education and awareness campaigns.

Wiomsa Marine Litter Monitoring Programme

SST’s litter monitoring team is one of seven African partners in the WIOMSA Marine Litter Monitoring Programme. The programme aims to determine litter baselines on a regional level.

African Marine Litter Monitoring Manual

SST is proud to announce the publication of the African Marine Litter Monitoring Manual. The manual provides protocols for litter monitoring in various habitats.

Frequently littered items


Plastc bags

Fishing line

Synthetic rope/net

Bottle caps

Sweets wrappers

Cigarette butts

Cotton buds

Glass pieces