By Chris Stonor
A new and ground-breaking anti-littering campaign was announced this week, supported by McDonald’s and the company’s key suppliers, employing drone technology and AI, reports hubbub.org.uk.
The aim is to assist the South Coast Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Councils (BCP) tackle litter during what is expected to be a very busy summer period as lockdown restrictions ease. Under the strapline ‘Leave only Footprints’ the project will use the most advanced “litter survey” ever undertaken to purge UK streets.
This innovative approach will see intelligence gathered from drone data “to inform the future placement of bins, street cleansing schedules and change campaigns” to encourage people to dispose of their litter responsibly.
Litter Viewed by a Drone
Due to funding from McDonald’s and its suppliers, cutting-edge technology can identify and categorise individual pieces of litter which offers unprecedented insight into what types are being dropped, where and when.
The campaign will deploy drones, fixed cameras and mobile and vehicle technology in public spaces to create detailed “litter maps”, identifying hot-spots, to form an understanding of how the trash travels. The approach, developed by technology start-up Ellipsis Earth, was used in the Italian town of Sorrento last summer, where it was hailed a huge success, enabling authorities to reduce litter by 45 percent and cigarette butt waste by 69 percent.
Insights into littering behaviour are vital to make the most of the considerable budgets invested by councils up and down the country to tackle the scourge of litter. The BCP alone invests over UKP1 million a year. This summer the councils will be able to use intelligence from the monitoring to inform the strategic placement of bins and street cleaning schedules. Hubbub will then use this data to develop a range of behaviour change interventions encouraging the public to dispose litter responsibly.
The first drone flights took place last week during a period when the majority of lockdown restrictions were in place to show how clean streets, parks and beaches can be if we care for the local area. The audit will be repeated in May when the area will become busier as the weather improves and lock down restrictions ease.
This data will inform a series of litter-busting interventions over the course of the summer and a further survey will take place later on to assess the effectiveness of the actions taken. The data collated by Ellipsis Earth will play an important role in the development of BCP’s long-term strategy.
Litter from a Drone’s Viewpoint
McDonald’s has been carrying out litter patrols in communities for nearly 40 years and view this intervention as a significant step-change using high quality data to not only make clearing litter more impactful, but to help improve behaviour and encourage those people who do litter to act more responsibly.
For the BCP Councils the campaign improves summer preparations to ensure beaches, town centres, parks and open spaces are prepared for both locals and visitors. This already includes tripling the size of bins to deal with the additional waste and putting in place more daily collections, with manual crews on standby when the locations such as the promenade become busy.
For more information
(News Source: https://www.hubbub.org.uk)