Remote Sensing of Plastic Marine Litter

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 [3], 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 [4], 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 [5], 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.

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The North East Technology Park provides a dynamic and supportive environment to accelerate the growth of ambitious, innovative, high tech companies into global markets. NETPark encourages collaborative multidisciplinary links, driving innovation, enterprise and economic prosperity.
We provide companies with access to a focused and international community where talent flourishes, ideas are generated and businesses have the support and resources to compete with the best in the world.

NETPark North East Technology Park

NETPark, North East Technology Park,
Sedgefield, County Durham TS21 3FD

Call Us: (+44) 01740 625250

The quality of the facilities at NETPark and the attitude of staff is first class. It has a really dynamic, innovative atmosphere.

Dr Neil Loxley, - Chief executive, IBEX

The proximity to the universities and the infrastructure are very important factors. Ultimately having a presence in Europe is very valuable to us and we intend to stay at NETPark for many years to come.

Dr Arnab Basu, - CEO, Kromek

When looking for premises which would support our growth, whilst we’d looked at other locations nothing came close to NETPark. The office is modern and well serviced and reflects the type of company we are.

Paul Ashley , - Co-Founder, PNTS

We’re delighted to have opened our new site at NETPark.  This will make it easier for us to attract the best engineering talent to the Tharsus team so that we can continue to deliver game-changing robotic systems for our customers.

Brian Palmer , - CEO, Tharsus

We initially came because of the printable electronics centre but access to a highly skilled semi conductor workforce in the North East has been a key factor in us staying and growing here, as well as the value for money office space and the access to funding.

Ken Williamson, - COO, PragmatIC Printing

CPI has developed a specialist offering to support SMEs looking to develop their printable electronics applications and our partnership with Business Durham has been instrumental in attracting several SMEs to locate here in the region.

Dr Jon Helliwell, - Director of Printable Electronics, CPI

It fits perfectly for us that we’re surrounded by like-minded companies at NETPark. There are a number of highly skilled people in the area who can help us grow our business. The facilities and services offered by NETPark are first class, they make office life simple and engaging.

Stuart Wilson, - CEO, Ascarii

Access to quality facilities was one of the main drivers for deciding to locate the business at the NETPark. We have been able to use this as a launch pad to link into support from CPI and world-class expertise from Durham University.

Steve Clements, - Managing Director, aXenic