The British Science Association are thrilled to reveal that the citizen science partnership for British Science Week 2018 will be with: The Plastic Tide.

The Plastic Tide are a charity made up of ocean, science and tech enthusiasts obsessed with working out ways to keep our beaches and seas clear of marine litter and plastics.

The Plastic Tide are helping clean up our marine worlds, thanks to drones, clever algorithms, and you!

Following the stunning launch of the beautiful and impacting Blue Planet II, we're more excited than ever to be part of this hugely important project. 

Find out more about how the partnership will work here: 

The Plastic Tide’s ultimate mission is to create a machine learning algorithm, trained by citizen scientists, that can automatically detect, identify and monitor marine litter in images supplied by armies of drones surveying beaches. Offering, for the first time, a tool that can help us understand not only where plastics and marine litter goes but what kind and how much. They are starting with beaches but will soon extend to the seabed and sea surface.

It works by people tagging images of beaches whenever they see a piece of litter. Every image that is tagged gives a huge boost to the algorithm's ability to detect plastics and marine litter in pictures of the oceans, increasing its success rate. During British Science Week, we're asking thousands of people to help combat the menace of litter in our oceans by going onto their website and tagging images. This will be vital  in helping us coordinate better and bigger beach cleans, protecting marine life and our seas. 

Drones take pictures of the UK's coastline, which the public can then tag for litter

Ivvet Modinou, Head of Engagement at the British Science Association, said: “We’re thrilled that The Plastic Tide is this year’s citizen science partnership for British Science Week. The oceans are currently high on the agenda, with the recent release of Blue Planet II and the Great Ocean Clean up beginning next year, people are beginning to sit up and take notice of how crucial it is to take care of our precious marine worlds. We are positive that with the help of the public, we’ll surpass our target of 250,000 classifications, which will go a huge way to help achieving The Plastic Tide’s goals of cleaning up our seas”.

In 6 months since launch on 1 April 2017, they've taken huge steps to achieving this goal, having removed over 1 tonne of plastics from UK beaches so far, with 1.3 million tags from over 5,600 citizen scientists. This has allowed them to develop a prototype algorithm that is capable of detecting around 25% of plastics in images – an incredible step forward, but with your help we can increase this accuracy even more.

Find out more on the British Science Week and Zooniverse websites.