Marine Debris in India

How is marine debris like an overflowing bucket of water?

Check out this video to learn more– it was created by the talented filmmaker Morup Namgail.

In 2019 I spent six months in Thiruvananthapuram, India working with the University of Kerala’s Department of Environmental Science under a Fulbright Nehru grant to teach and conduct research on the issue of marine litter.

In collaboration with Dr. Jaya D.S. of the University (here we are in the top center photo below) I applied to a National Geographic Society grant to train educators and representatives from NGOs on simple scientific methods for collecting debris. This project became The National workshop on Experiential learning with Indian Educators on Marine debris and its management (NEIEM).


This video explains the methods we use and why they are important.

Materials available from the NEIEM workshop can be found below or on our ResearchGate page.

If you’d like to conduct your own beach or river cleanup, please use these materials freely-


How To Conduct A Beach Cleanup

How To Conduct A River Cleanup

BLANK Data Sheet_Debris Collection

BLANK Spreadsheet

How to complete data sheets and spreadsheets

Printable labels for sorting debris

How to use the marine debris tracker app


How to Engage with local leaders

How to Write a Policy Brief

Policy Brief Template

Example Policy Brief_Connecticut

Example Report_NEIEM_Karamana River

All of this work was done in collaboration with Dr. Jaya D.S. of the University of Kerala Department of Environmental Science. The workshop was funded through the National Geographic Society and supported by the Fulbright Nehru program.

The work would not have been possible without the support of students and researchers in the Department of Environmental Science at the University of Kerala including Niyathi Vijay, Manikandan S., Alwyn Biju, Navami Rohini, Sonu Ulloor, and Lekshmi!

Find an article about this methodology as applied to river sites here: Adapting Coastal Collection Methods for River Assessment to Increase Data on Global Plastic Pollution: Examples From India and Indonesia (co-authored with Puspita I. Kamil)