A skimmer with a special camera installed that knows how to classify and catalog the plastic has become a significant tool in the fight against its spread • The British company that developed it managed to make a difference in beaches and cities around the world • Founder:
The earth is drowning in plastic: the common material made of polymer is found almost everywhere – on land, on mountain peaks, in the sea and even reaches the shores of Antarctica and distant islands. The problem is so big that it’s hard to even begin to deal with it, it’s really found in every corner of the globe. But British startup Ellipsis Earth believes they have found a way to fight back.
Using unmanned aircraft, but equipped with cameras, they are able to map the concentrations of the plastic and with the help of an algorithm also classify it. The computer installed in the glider knows how to identify the type of plastic, the material from which it is made, its size and sometimes also its source and brand. With this data, they say, we can begin to address the problem.
“We will know if this particular beach has fishing nets and discarded traps, while the other beach has wipes and bottles,” Eli McKay, the company’s founder and CEO, told Cnn. “We need to talk to the fishing industry about their equipment deployment and the pollution it creates. And to educate people not to pollute. ”
The technology developed by the company established in 2019 allows them to perform extensive scanning of large areas in a short time, and more efficiently than a walking or riding tour. What made Macay think of the issue was the state of the Galapagos coast: “There are beaches there that have not changed since Darwin’s foot passed through there, but the plastic is spreading all over the island.” After the project they did in the Galapagos, the island authorities enacted a law banning the use of disposable plastic that includes styrofoam containers and plastic bags.
Another Ellipsis project in the Sorrento area, Italy, examined the dumping of cigarette butts. After presenting the data, an educational campaign began and the placement of many more bins and ashtrays throughout the city. According to the company, the campaign led to a 70% reduction in cigarette dumping.
In the past, too, cameras, helicopters and special means have been used to try to deal with the endless amounts of plastic, but so far without much success. Perhaps with the help of education, legislation and technology, we can take control of the problem that is flooding the world with pollution.