University of Portsmouth Alumni Magazine 1 1 - Page 4

A POCKET SIZED SOLUTION TO PLASTIC POLLUTION Plastic pollution is a crisis born of carelessness. But imagine if there was a way for absolutely anyone to help tackle the problem of plastic waste - with a solution that fits in your pocket. Portsmouth alum Louis Capitanchik BSc (Hons) ’16 imagined exactly that. And now he’s made it happen. Louis is the co-founder and technical lead at Portsmouth-based start-up Jetsam Tech, where he built the social plastics logging app, Jetsam. He explains the idea: ‘Jetsam engages the local community in citizen science, to empower people to go out into their own communities and catalogue any plastic waste that they see out and about, to give us data that we can then use and provide to other organisations to help clean-up efforts and targeted environmental initiatives. So we’ll hopefully reduce a lot of the plastic that you see, as a way of people engaging with a problem that I think a lot are aware of but don’t have any idea of how they can personally tackle.’ Anyone with a smart mobile device can download the Jetsam app. At the time of writing it is available from UK app stores, with more countries coming soon, as it can be used globally. Once downloaded, it’s free and easy to use. Simply open the app and take a picture of whatever plastic you encounter while out and about. If your geolocation is enabled, the location will be identified, enabling Louis and his business partner Steve Bomford to build up a map of plastic hotspots. Jetsam launched in February 2020 and Louis says the response has been ‘amazing’. Within two months, Jetsam had hundreds of users in Portsmouth, with downloads as far afield as Northern Ireland. Organisations are also showing an interest - which is key to Louis’ plan to ‘work with local community organisations, councils, private companies, to help them understand the problems.’ Louis has always been passionate