Mapping Plastic Waste Challenge Winners
An estimated 80% of plastic waste in the oceans comes from land-based sources and a substantial portion of that comes from unmanaged or poorly-managed dumpsites. Southeast Asia has become a hotspot for plastic waste, where over 75% of recyclable plastic is lost in Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines annually. To contain and clean up plastic waste from the land and ocean environments, governments need to understand where plastic waste is concentrated and use innovative approaches to collect timely information on plastic waste dumpsites.
Satellite imagery and spatial analysis can provide insight into the location and characteristics of plastic waste dumpsites and help monitor changes in near real-time. SDGs Today’s partner, Earthrise Education, has developed an Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithm to detect plastic waste dumpsites using satellite imagery and other geospatial features with support from the Minderoo Foundation. The collected data could help evaluate the risk of plastic waste entering the ocean.
To enhance the accuracy of the algorithm and build capacity among students to utilize Earth Observation data and geospatial analysis, SDGs Today and Earthrise Education teamed up to launch a pilot project titled, the “Mapping Plastic Waste Challenge,” which provided students in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and China with tools and educational material needed to help build this automated system to monitor plastic waste and help take a step forward toward achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14: Life Under Water.
This ICSD side event will feature the winning students who participated in the challenge and lessons learned in this phase of the project. Join us to learn more about how students used satellite imagery to identify plastic waste dumpsites!