I would like to make a fun and interactive children's app to inspire change and help make a clean Earth.

Photo of Divek Patel
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Written by

Date You Started Your Project Started

December 2019

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Growth (have moved past the very first activities; working towards the next level of expansion)

1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

In many areas, especially in cities, there is a lot of roadside litter which can affect animals and the community around us. In this project, I would like to encourage roadside cleanup in an appealing and exciting way where all ages can get involved. Not only will they help clean the Earth, they will be awarded for doing so!

2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

I would like to create a game-based app: Litter-Go. This app would transform roadside trash clean-up into an interactive game that will encourage people to pick up and throw out trash. Participants were earned virtual coins, leaderboard rankings, and real prizes for identifying litter-ridden areas and for cleaning them up. After creating an app that would help from local governments to educate and promote so we have a clean and happy Earth. This, in turn, will create an area safe for surrounding communities and animals. In this app, participants would be able to locate and transport to a previously identified litter area another person found or they could explore unidentified areas. Participants would take a before photo, which would automatically start a timer and record the location via GPS. It would also remember the object in the image to ensure it is being thrown out. Before they throw it out, they will take a picture of them throwing the item out, stopping the timer, cleaning the area and giving them points. It would make sure the person is throwing the right item out by comparing the item to the before photo. Bonus Virtual Coins can be awarded for reaching milestones.

3. Using STEM as a force of good: Please specify how are you using STEM to solve for an environmental challenge you are passionate about.

Since we live in a world of technology, I am using STEM to solve an environmental challenge by using my skills in computer science to make Litter-Go accessible to all. I have learned (and continue to learn) Swift, the IOS programming language, at school and with my own efforts. Using the knowledge of Swift, I am currently in development of creating the app, with the main designs for the stages of the app complete from the help of my family and friends. As another feature i want to implement in the long run, I am currently developing a machine learning algorithm to distinguish whether a piece of trash a user takes a picture of is a candy wrapper, plastic bottle, cans, trash bags, etc.

4. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?

When I always visit my dad's work place in the Bronx, I saw there were many areas where trash was spinning around and not being disposed of. I was thinking how I can help with this problem, since picking up trash is boring and no one really wants to do it voluntarily unless they get something out of it. Since app development and computer science is the new era, my sister and I asked ourselves, "How can we combine computer science and cleanup, making it fun and interactive?" From this question, Litter-GO was created.

5. Video (Keep it simple, a video made on a hand-held phone is great): Please upload a 1-minute video to YouTube that answers the following “I am stepping up to be a Changemaker because...”

6. Please highlight the key activities you have carried out to bring your project to life.

I currently haven't brought the project to life yet, but I am planning to this summer at the non-profit event at Kensico Dam to let the community test the first prototype of Litter-Go. During this time, I have educated students in elementary schools about the significance of cleaning the Earth.

7. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

My project is unique because it will involve every age group from children to adult as they all like playing video games. In the process, they will keep their surrounding neighborhood clean and safe while having a great time doing so. Everyone has a phone with a camera, so it will be easily accessible to everyone. There will also be a weekly leaderboard and an all-time leaderboard to encourage competition and see who can pick up the most trash!

8. Impact: In the last three months, please detail the impact your project has made?

Currently, the Litter-Go app is in development, so it has not made any significant impact yet. However, I have brought anticipation to the app throughout my community.

9. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

In June 2020, there was supposed to be an outdoor gathering at the Kensico Dam hosted by the non-profit organization that my mother is part of, but due to COVID-19, it was postponed to August. There, I was supposed to share my first prototype of the app and receive feedback on it. I am also in discussion with the President of the non-profit about joining the rewards system of the app, as well as other restaurants around my town. Currently, I am in the development of making the app, and to take it to the next level, I am planning to get restaurants, organizations, and schools to support Litter-Go.

10. Please share how you have influenced other young people to get involved in your project and/or care about environmental sustainability.

I have influenced young people to care about environmental sustainability by presenting and talking with students in elementary schools to make them aware of the power of recycling and how we are able to reuse the material in bottles and cans to potentially make new items in which they can enjoy. Few times, these kids, during recess, picked up any trash they saw and put it in the recycling bin or trash can. They were having a great time, and that is what it is all about.

11. Please share ideas of how you can partner with other changemakers to make a difference?

I can partner with other changemakers to make a difference by partnering with those who have recycling projects or game based projects, making it a combined effort to promote a green Earth.

12. How would you engage others who have never heard about your project to get their buy-in?

I would engage others who have never heard about my project together their buy-in by first stating that you can can clean up the Earth and receive rewards for doing so, and that your are actively participating in the goal of a green and clean Earth. Having a great time while cleaning the streets and making a change is the best of two worlds, and Litter-Go brings these two aspects into reality.

13. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Friend support
  • Family support
  • Mentors/advisors

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Search engine
  • Recommended by others
  • Word of mouth


Join the conversation:

Photo of Hector Moyeton

I really like your idea, gamifying the experience of picking up trash will hopefully increase participation. I'd be interested to see how far you can take it so it's a whole experience fueled by the picking up trash. Have you considered the possibility of the app giving points in batches? It might be a little burdensome to have to take a photo of each individual item if you want them to do this many times.

Photo of Divek Patel

yeah points on cumulative basis will be given.