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Remote sensing for marine litter- MARLISAT



Organisational Unit
Implementation progress
06 July 2020

Duration: 24 months


A combined satellite-based solution is proposed to map plastic marine litter pathways and accumulation areas relying onto 3 innovative developments:  1) Utilising machine learning alongside an augmented land cover classification, accumulations of plastic litter across  coastal and riparian zones will be mapped. Through a combination of satellite spectral data and calculated thematic indices, the proposed random forests algorithm will be trained  to monitor and help the  mitigation of marine plastic pollution at its sources. 2) Inspired from designed-to-drift MAR-GE/T beacons with GPS positions relayed through the Argos satellite system, the proposed novel satellite tracker will be specifically designed to track plastic litter pathways, with better precision and realistic behavior. This miniaturized device will be designed for easy integration in different macro-plastic litter-like platforms and a low-cost and reduced environmental footprint approach will allow batch deployments enhancing the tracking efficiency. 3) Ocean surface currents and winds play a primary role in the transport and dispersal of plastic marine litters. A multi-year observations of ocean currents from space, in a synergetic use of satellite sensors (altimetry, scatterometers,...) and in-situ buoys, will be computed and used within a lagrangian drift modelling tool to simulate the plastic litters pathways, map the hotspots. The combination of these 3 components will constitute a full-range monitoring system of plastic marine litter, from littering sources determination to hotspots and pathways identification. This system would provide information to  help both cleaning and littering reduction actions.

Contract number
OSIP Idea Id
Related OSIP Campaign
Marine Litter
Main application area
Topical cluster