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Comparing macroplastic distribution using drone flights 

Seaside Sustainability created a grading system to rank the density, hazards, and logistics of the different locations. This information, which describes the difficulties in cleaning the area, is useful for conservation groups, volunteers, and others aiming to clean the Great Marsh. 

The orthomosaics and the digital elevation models created by the drone allowed for the
comparison of debris in different topographical zones to determine if there were any patterns. Generally, high marsh areas had lower levels of debris accumulation than low marsh areas, which can be attributed to the difference in tidal flows.

This data can help various organizations plan their plastic clean-up efforts and provide
evidence for legislative initiatives involving marine debris, such as advocating for better
water filters. Additionally, the drone technology can be used to further research
topography and debris accumulation.

Click here to view Seaside’s full report on this project!

Comparing Macroplastic Distribution Using Drone Flights at Argilla Road & Pine Island

Seaside Sustainability has utilized a DJI Mavic Pro, an autonomously flying drone programmed via DJI GISPRO software, to take photographs of different areas of the Great Marsh to quantify the macroplastic pollution distribution. This data can be useful for cleanup efforts, legislative initiatives, and further research on the effect of topography on pollution.

The drone was used to analyze several areas of the Great Marsh, including Coles Island, Rust Island, parts of the Ipswich River, drumlin islands, and land near Agrilla road, and Pine Island. It gathered orthomosaics (images made by digitally combining various photos via distortion and color
correction) that illustrate marine debris distribution.

Figure 1. Example of orthomosaic of the debris accumulation along the shores of the Ipswich River. Clean areas are denoted by white outlines; dirty areas are denoted by orange outlines.

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