Drones are drafted in to wage war on beach litter as local council uses eye-in-the-sky to create real-time map of waste hotspots
- Drones are being used by Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council
- The aim it to speed up the council’s response to rubbish left behind by visitors
- The Daily Mail helping to launch Keep Britain Tidy’s Great British Spring Clean
They are giving litter-pickers the upper hand in the battle against the ever-growing tide of waste in our countryside.
Drones are being used by a council which looks after some of Britain’s finest beaches to speed up its response to rubbish left behind by visitors.
The spy-in-the-sky technology allows officials to create a real-time aerial waste map, identifying hotspots to send its teams out to.
Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council is using the unmanned patrols on a stretch of coastline which was wrecked last year by careless beach-goers.
Drones are being used by Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council to speed up its response to rubbish left behind by visitors. Pictured: Ellie Mackay guides a drone to find litter
Their efforts come as the Daily Mail helps launch Keep Britain Tidy’s Great British Spring Clean, asking readers to roll up their sleeves and beat the 900,000 bags of litter 563,000 of you collected during the campaign in 2019.
Britain’s first ‘smart survey’ of litter covered a stretch of the Dorset coastline last week to create a ‘treasure map of trash’.
The bird’s eye view allows information to be collected on where litterbugs are dropping their rubbish and how it then spreads along the beaches.
The images – and an algorithm which identifies rubbish by type – will provide an invaluable aid to the council’s efforts to protect its scenery and wildlife.
Any litter hotspots are noted along the stretch of coast from Sandbanks in Poole, via Canford Cliffs, Bournemouth and Boscombe beaches to Hengistbury Head near Christchurch.
This allows the council to identify where best to provide extra bins or alter street cleaning schedules. Officials hope this will prepare the sands for a bumper summer of tourism as lockdown lifts, with new bins encouraging visitors to dispose of their litter responsibly.
A major incident was declared in June last year when half a million people descended on the Dorset beaches, leaving locals shocked by the waste strewn across the sand.
The spy-in-the-sky technology allows officials to create a real-time aerial waste map, identifying hotspots to send its teams out to. Pictured: The litter is highlighted in yellow by the drone
The council teamed up with environmental charity Hubbub, McDonald’s and drone specialists Ellipsis Earth.
Ellipsis Earth’s founder Ellie Mackay, who is leading the team of scientists, said the beaches in question are unusual in that, unlike some of the world’s most polluted coastlines, the rubbish is not brought in by tides from the sea.
‘All the litter that is detected on these beaches has been brought here each day by users and littered and left behind. So that means we can really effectively target the sources of that trash,’ she said.
The same technology was used last summer in Sorrento, Italy, and reduced litter by 45 per cent.
Bournemouth councillor Mark Anderson said the authority was ‘delighted’ to have been invited to take part, adding: ‘Litter is everyone’s responsibility… visitors should behave responsibly and pick up after themselves.’
Bournemouth beach was voted the nation’s favourite in a WWF-UK survey in February.