An increasing amount of anthropogenic marine debris is pervading the earth’s environmental systems, resulting in an enormous threat to living organisms. Additionally, the large amount of marine debris around the world has been investigated mostly through tedious manual methods. Therefore, we propose the use of a new technique, light detection and ranging (LIDAR), for the semi-automatic recognition of marine debris on a beach because of its substantially more efficient role in comparison with other more laborious methods. Our results revealed that LIDAR should be used for the classification of marine debris into plastic, paper, cloth and metal. Additionally, we reconstructed a 3-dimensional model of different types of debris on a beach with a high validity of debris revivification using LIDAR-based individual separation. These findings demonstrate that the availability of this new technique enables detailed observations to be made of debris on a large beach that was previously not possible. It is strongly suggested that LIDAR could be implemented as an appropriate monitoring tool for marine debris by global researchers and governments.
Zhenpeng Ge, Huahong Shi, Xuefei Mei, Zhijun Dai, Daoji Li, Scientific Reports 6, Article number: 25759 (2016)