By Julia Pepler
When the COVID-19 pandemic shut down our Swim Drink Fish offices around Canada, we quickly refocused on how to engage people in Citizen Science while abiding by the strict social distancing protocols. One of our biggest needs when it comes to protecting our waters, is collecting data that helps track their health, use, and cleanliness over time. Meet Gassy!
What is it?
Gassy is a photo submission tool that was developed by our incredible team in Toronto as a way to encourage people to get outside and practice social distancing while providing valuable data to help us monitor water bodies around Canada.
Here’s how it works
- Head down to the water and observe your surroundings. Are there people paddling, swimming or boating? Is there wildlife like birds, fish or mammals? Is there visible pollution or debris like plastics, medical waste, or food containers in the water?
- Next, snap some photos of what you see.
- Visit the Gassy submission portal on your computer or smartphone.
- Input your email so we can follow up on what you saw (this step is optional!).
- Select what kind of photo you are uploading (debris, wildlife, people, or other).
- Finally, you can add notes, including your specific location.
- Submit your photo and see how many ‘meals’ Gassy has had today!
Why we need your photos
Every time you submit a photo, you feed Gassy, our friendly water monster. We’re training our AI to identify different types of pollution, wildlife, and water recreation users. Every photo you submit helps us strengthen data about our waters.
This week for Canadian Environmental Week, if you can, we encourage you to get out by the water, check in on its cleanliness, how many people are using it, discover what wildlife depend on it, and share your photos with us. Since we can’t be on every beach, we hope you’ll be our eyes and ears!