British public smashes community scientist goal with drone project


A British charity that deploys drones to survey the amount of plastic debris of UK beaches has doubled its tagging target after a surge in public support.

The Plastic Tide, which deploys drones to survey coastal regions, is running a campaign for the duration of nationwide 10-day Festival of Science.

Over the course of the initiative, which kicked off on Friday March 9 and is running until March 18, the charity is urging members of the public to sign up to help tag 250,000 debris in images obtained by the drones.

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The organisation, which has partnered with the British Science Association, has confirmed that it hit its target to tag 250,000 plastic items within the first three days of its 10-day appeal. As a result of meeting the target, the partnership has announced it has doubled its goal to 500,000.

With the aid of citizen scientists tagging images, the organisation hopes to develop an algorithm to detect plastic on the coast.

The organisation commented: “Not only have we smashed our target, we’ve obliterated our all-time record of tags in one day. The old record was 91,600, and the new record is 153,000 in just five hours and counting.”

Since The Plastic Tide’s launch a year ago, a total of 3,000 items of litter have been detected on 30 UK beaches. Plastic rope and small net pieces top the list of the most common items. Plastic from food packaging makes up 21% of all rubbish littering the coast in The Plastic Tide’s snapshot. Some of the more unusual items recorded include a dolphin spine, a solar panel mushroom and a 20-year-old Lego Cutlass.

Tags : British Science Associationcommunity sciencedronesplasticplastic surveyThe Plastic Tide
Emma Calder

The author Emma Calder

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