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Article

Quantifying Marine Plastic Debris in a Beach Environment Using Spectral Analysis

1
School of Science, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University, 124 La Trobe Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000, Australia
2
ITC, University of Twente, Hengelosestraat 99, 7514 AE Enschede, The Netherlands
3
Department of Environmental Science, Macquarie University, Balaclava Rd., Macquarie Park, Sydney, NSW 2109, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Gil Rito Gonçalves and Umberto Andriolo
Remote Sens. 2021, 13(22), 4548; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13224548
Received: 20 October 2021 / Revised: 9 November 2021 / Accepted: 10 November 2021 / Published: 12 November 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing for Mapping and Monitoring Anthropogenic Debris)
Marine plastic debris (MPD) is a globally relevant environmental challenge, with an estimated 8 million tons of synthetic debris entering the marine environment each year. Plastic has been found in all parts of the marine environment, including the surface layers of the ocean, within the water column, in coastal waters, on the benthic layer and on beaches. While research on detecting MPD using remote sensing is increasing, most of it focuses on detecting floating debris in open waters, rather than detecting MPD on beaches. However, beaches present challenges that are unique from other parts of the marine environment. In order to better understand the spectral properties of beached MPD, we present the SWIR reflectance of weathered MPD and virgin plastics over a sandy substrate. We conducted spectral feature analysis on the different plastic groups to better understand the impact that polymers have on our ability to detect synthetic debris at sub-pixel surface covers that occur on beaches. Our results show that the minimum surface cover required to detect MPD on a sandy surface varies between 2–8% for different polymer types. Furthermore, plastic composition affects the magnitude of spectral absorption. This suggests that variation in both surface cover and polymer type will inform the efficacy of beach litter detection methods. View Full-Text
Keywords: plastic pollution; beach; proximal remote sensing; spectral analysis; shortwave infrared; spectroscopy; hyperspectral; marine plastic plastic pollution; beach; proximal remote sensing; spectral analysis; shortwave infrared; spectroscopy; hyperspectral; marine plastic
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MDPI and ACS Style

Guffogg, J.A.; Blades, S.M.; Soto-Berelov, M.; Bellman, C.J.; Skidmore, A.K.; Jones, S.D. Quantifying Marine Plastic Debris in a Beach Environment Using Spectral Analysis. Remote Sens. 2021, 13, 4548. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13224548

AMA Style

Guffogg JA, Blades SM, Soto-Berelov M, Bellman CJ, Skidmore AK, Jones SD. Quantifying Marine Plastic Debris in a Beach Environment Using Spectral Analysis. Remote Sensing. 2021; 13(22):4548. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13224548

Chicago/Turabian Style

Guffogg, Jenna A., Samantha M. Blades, Mariela Soto-Berelov, Chris J. Bellman, Andrew K. Skidmore, and Simon D. Jones. 2021. "Quantifying Marine Plastic Debris in a Beach Environment Using Spectral Analysis" Remote Sensing 13, no. 22: 4548. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13224548

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