ESA title
Monitoring marine litter from space
Enabling & Support

Keeping an eye on ocean plastic pollution…from space!

11/08/2021 854 views 8 likes
ESA / Enabling & Support / Preparing for the Future / Discovery and Preparation

Meet bag, bottle and straw, three bits of plastic left on the beach. They are only small, but they are heading into the ocean, where they could cause big damage.

ESA is exploring how satellites can help detect and reduce plastic pollution in the ocean. From spotting build-ups of litter to tracking ocean currents, satellites could be game-changing in tackling this enormous environmental problem.

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Keeping an eye on ocean plastic pollution…from space!
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Though engaging for children and adults alike, this video is designed with primary school students in mind. In particular, teachers can use it to introduce the topic of marine litter in subjects such as geography and science.

Millions of tonnes of plastic enter the oceans every year. It is one of the most pressing environmental issues and attempts to tackle it are gaining momentum at all levels, from political bodies to forward-thinking companies.

Monitoring marine litter from Earth’s surface is difficult as it is impossible to see much of the ocean at one time. Space provides a more promising vantage point, but the required technology is still in its infancy.

ESA Discovery & Preparation is currently funding 26 innovative projects that are together mapping the direction humanity should take to detect and track ocean plastic using satellites. The aim is to bring together experts from around the world to create and support a community that can kick-start and lead this area of research, eventually providing the tools and data for decision makers to tackle this pressing issue. Discover more about the projects using the links below.

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