Norwegian app designed to sleuth out sources of sea plastic pollution
When you see plastic trash washed up on the shore, don't you wish there was something you could do? Besides just picking it up, that is? Well, a new app may soon be able to determine where that garbage came from, so action can be taken.
Currently in development at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), the app is intended to be utilized mainly by clean-up crews – although it could also be used by members of the public, as they walk along the shoreline. Whenever they spot a particularly noticeable piece of plastic waste, they will use the app to photograph the item, and to enter its GPS coordinates.
By accessing a visual database that is presently being created, the app will be able to identify what the object is. Additionally, by accounting for factors such as prevailing currents, tides and weather patterns, the app should be able to determine the approximate oceanic route taken by the item, in order for it to have ended up where it did.
If any suspected sources of such waste are located along that route, they may be paid a visit by municipal authorities. Additionally, if it's found that plastics are accumulating more in particular locations, those places could be prioritized for clean-up efforts.
Plans call for around 100 people to test the app during Norwegian ocean-trash-picking projects, once it's been completed. It should be ready for a roll-out to the public by next spring (Northern Hemisphere).
"Actions to clean up plastic don’t do much good if you don’t deal with the sources of the plastic at the same time," says PhD candidate Christina Hellevik, who is part of the app-development team. "It’s urgent to find the sources of the plastic, and to make good decisions."
Source: Norwegian SciTech News