14th March 2018

STEM Week | The Plastic Tide Project

children on computers

As part of our week long celebration of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, Year 6 and Year 7 have spent their ICT lessons this week learning about the The Plastic Tide Project and then continuing their development as Citizen Scientists by helping to find & tag pieces of plastic and litter on our beaches.

It is a tide that never recedes. Day by day, year on year it grows. Estimates are currently at trillions of pieces and counting, with over 60% of the oceans being heavily contaminated with plastics. With each piece of plastic taking over 400 years to degrade, our oceans, all marine life, and even our own health and livelihoods are in real danger of drowning. Despite this and the 8 million tonnes of Plastics entering our ocean each year, researches can only account for where 1% of that it ends up; our ocean surface. That begs the question where is the missing 99%?

Here is where The Plastic Tide comes in,

The answer can be found on the seafloor, in marine life, and on our coastlines. The Plastic Tide harnesses drone imagery from a series of beaches and the power of computer programs, or Machine Learning Algorithms for the more technically minded, to eventually create a program that can autodetect, measure and monitor the levels of Plastics and Marine Litter washing up on our beaches. Eventually helping us to track where plastics and litter go in our oceans, revealing where the missing 99% is in our ocean goes.

Students have spent time carefully scanning pictures from the drone and tagging any materials that they identified as plastic or litter. The project has now smashed it’s target of tagging 500k pieces of plastic and is now aiming for 1 million tags.



Vision From the Skies:


You can find out more about the The Plastic Tide Project and help to continue the amazing work being done on their website.

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