Greek researchers enlist EU satellite against Aegean sea litter | 3/20/2018 | Staff
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Knee-deep in water on a picture-postcard Lesbos island beach, a team of Greek university students gently deposits a wall-sized PVC frame on the surface before divers moor it at sea.

Holding in plastic bags and bottles, four of the 5 metre-by-5-metre (16 foot-by-16-foot) frames are part of an experiment to determine if seaborne litter can be detected with EU satellites and drones.

Day - Project - Supervisor - Konstantinos - Topuzelis

"This was the first big day," says project supervisor Konstantinos Topuzelis, an assistant professor at the University of the Aegean department of Marine Sciences, said of the scene from last week.

"All the targets were carried into the sea, the satellites passed by and we're ready to fill out the first report."

Results - Experiment— - Satellite - Testing - Drone

The results of the experiment—"Satellite Testing and Drone Mapping for Marine Plastics on the Aegean Sea"—by the university's Marine Remote Sensing Group will be presented at a European Space Agency symposium in Milan in May.

"Marine litter is a global problem that affects all the oceans of the world," Topouzelis told AFP.

Millions - Tonnes - End - Oceans - Wildlife

Millions of tonnes of plastic end up in the oceans, affecting marine wildlife all along the food chain.

"Modern techniques are necessary to detect and quantify marine plastics in seawater," Topouzelis added, noting that space agencies have already been looking into how drones and satellites can help with the clean-up.

Advantage - Tools - Costs - Dimitris - Papageorgiou

"The main advantage is that we are using existing tools," which brings down costs and makes it easier to scale up, says Dimitris Papageorgiou, one of the 60 undergraduate and postgraduate students who worked on the experiment.

To prepare, the team gathered some 2,000 plastic bottles and lashed them to...
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