It is a tide that never recedes. Day by day, year on year it grows. Estimates are currently at trillions of pieces and counting, with over 60% of the oceans being heavily contaminated with plastics. With each piece of plastic taking over 400 years to degrade, our oceans, all marine life, and even our own health and livelihoods are in real danger of drowning. Despite this and the 8 million tonnes of Plastics entering our ocean each year, researches can only account for where 1% of that it ends up; our ocean surface. That begs the question where is the missing 99%?
Here is where The Plastic Tide comes in - the answer can be found on the seafloor, in marine life, and on our coastlines. The Plastic Tide harnesses drone imagery from a series of beaches and the power of computer programs, or Machine Learning Algorithms for the more technically minded, to eventually create a program that can autodetect, measure and monitor the levels of Plastics and Marine Litter washing up on our beaches. Eventually helping us to track where plastics and litter go in our oceans, revealing where the missing 99% is in our ocean goes.
This is where YOU come in. By tagging plastics and litter in the images we take with our drone, you are directly teaching our computer program to autodetect, measure and monitor plastics to help researchers answer how much of the Missing 99% ends up on our beaches. The more you tag, the better the computer program gets at identifying plastics!
We'll also make all the images we take using drones, your hard work tagging and our computer program available freely online for anyone to use. This will allow others to monitor their own beaches, whilst generating scientifically valuable datasets for local and global researchers, helping us understand this global issue.