Global plastic production has increased exponentially since the fifties, with 359 million metric tons manufactured in 2018 alone. Nearly 20% of this production took place within Europe, where at least half of discarded plastics collected for ‘recycling’ were instead exported to China and SE Asia. Every year, an increasing proportion of these plastics (in the order of millions of tons) enter and accumulate in our waterways and oceans. In riverine and marine systems, the presence of micro to macroplastic debris has generated a growing and persistent threat to the environment and ecosystems, as well as an urgent and multi-dimensional challenge for our society.
Methods for resource-efficient and large-scale detection and monitoring of plastic litter are still relatively new. However, in the last few years, they have blossomed across technologies and environments - from mounted cameras to drones to satellites, and from lakes and rivers to coastal waters and open oceans. These new technologies can be crucial to fill in the gaps between limited in situ observations and global models, allowing coverage across fine as well as large spatial scales, and over long time periods. We invite abstracts describing the use of cameras, drones, satellites and other remote sensing techniques to observe and monitor riverine and marine plastics. We also welcome work describing or demonstrating new approaches, methods and algorithms to improve the use of cameras and sensors for plastic detection on (and in) water.
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