Why don't we have the opportunity to add a pollution observation?

Sometimes, many indeed, I find a beautiful being next to a blatant aggression against it or the environment it lives in. I’d like to have the opportunity to report on that circumstance. In fact I think that, as Nature lovers, aren’t we, we should do that. Maybe not directly with a common observation (because the aspect of the page would turn to be ugly) but in some feasible way. I beg the inaturalist team to think about it.

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Because iNaturalist is a site for recording encounters with [evidence of] living organisms. If you just want to record pollution, inat isn’t the place for that.

If you want to record living organisms that are also evidently affected by pollution, you could use observation fields. There might already be fields for that purpose, or you could create your own.


Here are some projects that show interactions between orgnaisms and pollutants in different ways.
I try and record this in Botswana. Perhaps make your own project.

here are others from around the globe

Im sure there are many many more projects like these.


Welcome to the forum @ciznaola!

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@ciznaola Your suggestion has been brought up many times, but we’ve decided to keep iNat’s focus on species occurrence (note that the organism doesn’t have to be alive or even present, but there should be recent evidence of its presence). The projects that @botswanabugs linked to are good places to collect observations of organisms being directly affected by plastic pollution.

If you’re interested in recording and sharing observations of trash, there are sites and apps like litterati.org that should suit your purpose.


Thank you very much. I take note and I’ll study all those projects.
By the way, I’m a primary school teacher (EFL) in Spain and I have some projects to unite schools in different parts of the world around the study and defence of the environment, practicing the English language at the same time.
Maybe you know some school or schools in Bostwana which would be willing to collaborate in something like that?

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Thank you. I’ll try that.

Thank you very much. I have already downloaded the app. Very useful. Thank you again.

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Thanks After the Lockdown and schools reopen in Botswana I shall try and find out. Have you tried schools in Cape Town ? Schools have not yet started using iNaturalist in Botswana yet. Lets hope they do !

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Thank you. I haven’t tried Cape Town yet. I’m very interested in working with african schools. I’m a member of Amnesty International and I have worked on human rights subjects with people in Nigeria, Sierra Leone and DRC.

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These are great projects. I’ll probably join at least one of the US projects.

A couple of suggestions, based on @JayAvery’s response and what I’ve seen in my (admittedly short) time here:

  • Be sure the organism is front and center, especially in the “top” photo. If necessary, take multiple photos with at least one focusing on the organism and another showing the pollution.

  • If an animal is caught in plastic or some other man-made pollution, be sure to care for it (if you are able) or contact a local authority who can. Example: this owl caught in plastic. You’ll hear it from other iNatters if you don’t, or fail to mention it.

  • You have made me think that when some of our local environmental groups get back to doing clean-up events again I need to record some observations for iNat, and I encourage others to do the same. But always organisms! (Maybe even create a project?)

Context can be useful, but always follow iNaturalist’s purpose to observe organisms.


At our Baffin Bay Beach Clean-up, we had a person find a bird completely tangled in fishing line. Our coordinator then took it to an animal rehabber she knew for it to get help. :-)


Very good suggestions. I’ll do as you say. Thank you very much.

You’re welcome.

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