RESEARCH

Plastic Litter Project 2020

PLP 2020 Experiment Log

06/07/2020. Our third test deployment day with marine litter.

On Monday 06/07/2020 it was the 4th test deployment for PLP2020. The mesh target performed well with no issues; additional 4L containers used to raise the mesh, but most of the target surface was still slightly submerged. The “sandwich”-type target performed better without the intermeshed lines, however the net was slightly damaged, with no loss of litter to the environment. The specific net type is not applicable and a thicker net with a tighter mesh will be tested.

01/07/2020. Our second test deployment day with marine litter.

On Wednesday 01/07/2020 it was the 3rd test deployment day overall for PLP2020. The mesh target performed well with no issues; additional 4L containers used to raise the mesh, but most of the target surface was still slightly submerged. The “sandwich”-type target did not perform as expected, with more intense grouping occurring than what was observed with the cage-type target. The main hypothesis is that double net structure in addition with the intertwined thin rope that was used to create “pockets” did not allow the debris to flow back with the waves in order to cover the entire target area. Both targets had good buoyancy with no additional floating devices needed.

16/06/2020. Our first test deployment day with marine litter.

On Tuesday 16/06/2020, we performed the second test deployment of the two circular targets. The mesh target was deployed in the same manner as the previous date, with additional 4 liter buoyant containers attached below the mesh in an effort to slightly raise it from the sea surface. The cage-type target was partially filled with free-floating marine litter, covering about one quarter of the target area, in order to assess whether the debris would uniformly spread along the entire area of the target or concentrate to the side of the target due to wave action. A supporting mesh was attached to the bottom of the target in order to avoid loss of material to the environment. Results suggest that a partial grouping of the materials does occur due to wave action, especially during wind gusts, however most of the debris was uniformly distributed on the target area, although towards the downwind side of the target. The testing was performed during Sentinel 2 acquisition in order to assess the visibility of the new targets and obtain spectral measurements. In addition, UAV optical images were acquired using a DJI Phantom Pro V2, mainly for visualization purposes. Conditions were optimal with a light breeze of about 3 Beaufort and low waves.

10/06/2020. Our first test deployment day.

On Wednesday 10/06/2020 we performed the first test deployment of the new 7 m diameter circular targets constructed for PLP2020. The first of the two targets was a prototype cylindrical cage-type target, much like an aquaculture structure, which did not contain any marine litter. The second target was a circular frame with a white polyethylene mesh attached on the frame structure. Both targets were deployed and anchored at sea in order to assess their robustness, ease of deployment and buoyancy. UAV optical and thermal images were captured using a DJI Phantom 4 V2Pro and a Mavic 2 Enterprise. Conditions were excellent and the test was a success.

23/05/2020. Our first volunteering act.

Our third test on detecting and validating artificial plastic targets on the sea surface using UAV and satellite images technology has just begun. On Saturday 23/5/2020, the Municipality of Mytilene and the Marine Remote Sensing Team of the Department of Marine Sciences of the University of the Aegean - joined their forces to clean the beaches in the airport area of Mytilene and collect plastics that will be used in the research program Plastic Litter Project 2020. 

Stay tuned for more news about PLP 2020!

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