Using remote sensors to monitor marine litter is a great challenge, especially if we want to utilize use public satellites with free access. However, this possibility would be a revolution for the study and monitoring of marine litter, even if we are only able to observe a limited interval of sizes, a single type of litter, and only on the ocean surface.

The European Space Agency (ESA) has committed with the exploration of this possibility and MARLUCA plays a significant role in this research line through three contracts. The first of them, entitled “Remote Sensing for Marine Litter (RESMALI), has been funded within the framework of “ESA's Basic Activities”. RESMALI focuses the possible design of a specific sensor or constellation of sensors for the observation of marine litter from space.

“EO Tracking of Marine Debris in the Mediterranean Sea” (EOTrack Med) has been funded in the “EO Science for Society (Activity line: Enabling Industry Growth) call”. The project focuses on the Mediterranean basin, and combines public or professional crowdsourcing alert systems; monitoring by remote sensors; and hydrodynamic models to build up a service for monitoring marine pollution using sensors already in orbit, specifically with data from HR Sentinel and commercial data from VHR.

Finally, the contract entitled “Windrows as proxies of marine litter” (WASP) is focused on the use of litter windrows (hyperlink to as strategic target for floating litter detection.

FUNDED BY European Space Agency