A New Jersey man is using drones and machine learning to measure plastic pollution on beaches. Morris Enyeart of Barnegat, NJ conducting a drone survey.

It’s hard to keep track of how much plastic is in the ocean. We’ve all heard about the floating garbage gyres in the Pacific, but it’s such a large problem that it defies statistics.

Scientists estimate that anywhere from 5 to 13 million metric tons of plastic trash make it into the world’s oceans each year. Only a fraction of that plastic floats on the ocean surface.

The rest washes up on beaches, lingers underwater, or sinks to the sea floor, but no one knows precisely how much goes where. UK nonprofit The Plastic Tide wants to gather some harder data on all that plastic.

Founded by 34-year-old Peter Kohler, the group is developing a method for measuring marine litter which they hope will eventually be used around the world. The Plastic Tide Founder Peter Kohler “We’re creating the eyes and the brain to track plastic pollution,” Kohler said. Read more from popsci.com…

thumbnail courtesy of popsci.com