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Open AccessArticle

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for Debris Survey in Coastal Areas: Long-Term Monitoring Programme to Study Spatial and Temporal Accumulation of the Dynamics of Beached Marine Litter

1
Istituto di Scienze Marine del Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, ISMAR – CNR, 19032 Lerici (SP), Italy
2
Istituto di Fisiologia Clinica del Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, IFC – CNR, 56124 Pisa (PI), Italy
3
Istituto per la Bioeconomia del Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, IBE – CNR, 50145 Firenze (FI), Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(8), 1260; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12081260
Received: 10 March 2020 / Revised: 11 April 2020 / Accepted: 13 April 2020 / Published: 16 April 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of the Oceans: Blue Economy and Marine Pollution)
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are becoming increasingly accessible tools with widespread use as environmental monitoring systems. They can be used for anthropogenic marine debris survey, a recently growing research field. In fact, while the increasing efforts for offshore investigations lead to a considerable collection of data on this type of pollution in the open sea, there is still little knowledge of the materials deposited along the coasts and the mechanism that leads to their accumulation pattern. UAVs can be effective in bridging this gap by increasing the amount of data acquired to study coastal deposits, while also limiting the anthropogenic impact in protected areas. In this study, UAVs have been used to acquire geo-referenced RGB images in a selected zone of a protected marine area (the Migliarino, Massacciuccoli, and San Rossore park near Pisa, Italy), during a long-term (ten months) monitoring programme. A post processing system based on visual interpretation of the images allows the localization and identification of the anthropogenic marine debris within the scanned area, and the estimation of their spatial and temporal distribution in different zones of the beach. These results provide an opportunity to investigate the dynamics of accumulation over time, suggesting that our approach might be appropriate for monitoring and collecting such data in isolated, and especially in protected, areas with significant benefits for different types of stakeholders. View Full-Text
Keywords: unmanned-aerial-vehicles; UAVs; anthropogenic-marine-debris; AMD; beached-marine-litter; BML; marine-protected-areas; MPA; ortho-photo; marine-pollution; accumulation-rate unmanned-aerial-vehicles; UAVs; anthropogenic-marine-debris; AMD; beached-marine-litter; BML; marine-protected-areas; MPA; ortho-photo; marine-pollution; accumulation-rate
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MDPI and ACS Style

Merlino, S.; Paterni, M.; Berton, A.; Massetti, L. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for Debris Survey in Coastal Areas: Long-Term Monitoring Programme to Study Spatial and Temporal Accumulation of the Dynamics of Beached Marine Litter. Remote Sens. 2020, 12, 1260.

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