The Norwegian Retailers’ Environment Fund («Handelens Miljøfond», HMF) has just decided to support a 2-year project run by Akvaplan-niva. The project, called “Detecting, Identifying and Mapping plastic in the Arctic using robotics and digital solutions (DIMARC)”, will use autonomous unmanned robotics, a WaveGlider, and digital solutions involving machine learning approach for data analysis to detect, identify and map plastic litter offshore and onshore in the Norwegian Arctic.
A remote sensing methodology will also be developed, taking advantage of high definition satellite pictures and aerial drones to detect lost fishing nets stranded on the shore. These so called “ghost nets” are known for catching and killing animals such as deer, bears, seals, birds etc.
The team will also study the drift of plastic in the Arctic using a high-resolution ocean model called FVCOM using different scenarios. The results from the project will be communicated to local communities to assist them in cleaning their shores, and to students for educational purposes.
Partners are Maritime Robotics, IFREMER (France), SALT, TerraNor and UiT the Arctic University of Norway. The sponsor HMF is the largest private environmental fund in Norway, and supports projects that reduces plastic waste, increase plastic recycling, and reduce the consumption of plastic bags.
Figure: Example of analysis of plastic debris from drone pictures using segmentation techniques with a machine learning approach