The Bournemouth, Christchurch, and Poole (BCP) Council plans to use drones to fight back against the expected surge in litter after COVID-19 lockdowns finish later this summer. The drones will track the amount of litter and inform workers of the most affected areas.

The council has partnered with McDonald’s, which is funding it, and Hubbub as it plans to tackle the issue of littering head-on. When the first lockdown eased in June, thousands of people left their houses and hit the beach and local parks. The council expects numbers to be even larger this time around as many will want to get out while they still can.

The council shared in a statement:

Cutting-edge technology will identify and categorize individual pieces of litter, to give unprecedented insight into what types of litter are being dropped where and when.

Live litter maps will also be created from the drones’ data, allowing the council to proactively remove trash and litter before it becomes a problem and deploy people to ensure people are following the rules and doing their bit. Fixed and mobile cameras will also be used to help create these maps.

The same technology was used in Italy last year, with litter being reduced by a massive 45% and a reduction in cigarette butts being thrown on the ground by 69%.

Councillor Mark Anderson added:

We are pulling out all the stops to make sure our beaches, town centres, parks and open spaces are ready for visitors. This will see extra large 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

Drones and COVID-19

Drones have been present throughout the global pandemic, with some saying that this demonstrates how instrumental they are. Recently, the University of California San Diego (UCSD) developed a disinfecting drone with UV-C lights. Many countries are using drones to disinfect public areas and monitor busy areas to ensure people are following social distancing rules.

Photo: Sina Weibo

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