trash, pick it up

In the port city of Xiamen on China’s southeast coast, three cameras watch the Jiulong river as it wends its way to the sea; not for the beautiful views, but to monitor litter. The images are processed to identify types of waste, predicted drift patterns are quickly calculated and ideal collection points are chosen. The following day, the bulk of the stray waste will be hauled aboard a boat.

This forecasting system, developed by Xiamen University, has been running since July 2017 and has made the collection of marine waste more efficient.

Xiamen has also managed to identify upstream sources and implement regulations to stem them. Separate work is being done to deal with the pernicious problem of abandoned fishing gear, either by making it biodegradable or making sure it is recycled. Read on.

Title inspiration thanks to the New York Dolls.