Help solve the global issue of plastic marine litter by using data from space.
Marine Litter is a global issue and can be found in all the seas from the equator to the poles, and in freshwater systems, such as rivers and lakes. According to monitoring data, the large majority of marine litter is plastic , in particular buoyant polymers as polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP). It has been estimated that between 4.8 and 12.7 million tonnes of plastic entered the ocean from land in 2010 alone , and plastic production is constantly increasing.
Despite this large input, it is estimated that only about a quarter of a million tonne is floating on the surface of the ocean , with most of the plastic likely to be sinking. Plastic marine litter not only dramatically affects marine animals and ecosystems, but it also has economic impacts on coastal communities, tourism and fisheries. The issue is also becoming a concern for human health due to contamination of seafood with plastic particles and associated pollutants, some of which are known to be harmful to humans.
ESA seeks novel and innovative ideas that address the remote sensing of plastic marine litter,namely detection, quantification and tracking of plastic litter in saltwater and freshwater systems, including shores/coasts. Ideas shall include the exploitation of at least a space asset and can address the upstream as well as the downstream element.