Create a "World Cleanup day(/week)" event

I’m just spitballing an idea I had here rather than this being a 100% serious feature suggestion, but it’d be interesting to see what the community and staff think anyway.

A while ago while I was hiking in Thailand, I came across some discarded trash in the middle of a national park. It made me pretty sad/angry, and I took some photos of it before I picked it up. I don’t really know why I did, i just felt compelled to in the moment.

Later when I was going through all my wildlife photos, and i came across the pictures of trash, i briefly considered posting them as a sort of ‘Satire’ observation of the previously rare but more common species ‘A. litteri.’ Ultimately I decided not to because I didn’t know how everyone here would react and, after all, it’s not a real observation. I just felt like I needed to do something. I was annoyed at finding someone had discarded a soft drink and other picnic associated trash can in the middle of a national park, and I sort of wanted to call it out and draw attention to it. I guess it just made me angry and i felt like I needed to do more than just pick it up and take it with me (I obviously did do this.), but I didn’t know what else I could do.

But I was thinking - presumably most of the people here are nature lovers (why else would be on a site called iNaturalist?). I know I pickup any trash I encounter while out wildlife watching. What if for one week of the year, coinciding with world cleanup day in September (So we have missed it for this year), a new kind of observation was encouraged, and observations could be marked as ‘Litter.’ Depending on how much effort people want to put in, we could even taxonomise it into fake families (Plastics), genuses (Softdrinks cans) and species (Coca cola)

For one week people would be encouraged to upload these ‘observations’ (They obviously would not count as species for life lists and what-not), as a way to sort of present and call-out the litter problem the world is facing. The idea would be that during the week of world clean-up day, inaturalist users go to their favourite park - a national park or even a local park - to photograph, taxonomise, and then pickup & dispose of properly, any trash they find.

After the week iNaturalist staff can put together a blog post looking at how much trash the iNat community encountered (and cleanred up!) over the week, and some other statistics. What is the broad makeup of the trash we leave? Papers? Plastics? What areas is it abundant in? How much was found in National parks?

Ultimately, I suppose maybe iNaturalist just isn’t the place for this sort of thing - maybe it would be better to keep efforts focused on the main goal of the site, but it could also be a beneficial community event to get people out there cleaning up the world one bit at a time, and draw some focus and perhaps even media attention to just how bad things are.

Don’t know about an event-based thing, but I’d like to see it infused into iNat as just part of the culture. Give it a catchy # and promote its use and practice.


For your example you could post it and identify it as evidence of humans.


As much as we care about cleaning up litter and plastics, we’re going to keep iNaturalist focused solely on observations of wild organisms. I haven’t used it myself, but I think or something similar would be a better platform for this.


Maybe an “event” one day every few months (like an announcement on the front page) that just encourages people to pick up a piece of trash for each observation they make, no new software needed.

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you could also create a project and do this. I know one user even was posting pictures of plants with roadside garbage… you could do both at once. I personally think of making iNat observations as a beneficial activity, and the same for picking up trash, so the idea of pledging one against another doesn’t personally feel compelling to me. Maybe others would feel differently

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There is already a project at


I do recommend Litterati though. Nice stories here: