Microsoft AI accelerates debris research

New digital solutions to reduce plastic pollution are underway through a new partnership with Microsoft.

Our research team used Microsoft tools and capabilities to accelerate marine debris data collection and improve our understanding of what, where, how and why plastic pollution ends up on land, along our coasts, and in the ocean.

Rubbish floating in the water

Utilising Microsoft technology will assist with our efforts to reduce debris ending up in our oceans


Microsoft software and AI technologies help to identify and manage plastic pollution to generate targeted waste management strategies and intervention methods. We were able to count and track plastic debris and conduct quantifiable assessments of the effectiveness of waste management programs.

We leveraged Microsoft technology to count plastic debris on land, in aquatic and marine environments and in areas that are unsafe for manual collection and counting. We also created a new application to significantly improve the current method of data collection using hand-written datasheets.

Using AI to track plastic pollution

Installing cameras under bridges enabled researchers to study rubbish flowing along rivers. Automated image processing provided key information on the types of rubbish, how much there was, and where it travelled.


Reducing land-to-sea debris

With an estimated 40-60 percent of rubbish in our oceans moving through stormwater drains, we are also developing camera traps and sensors to prevent our waste from ending up in the marine environment.


Monitoring pollution with AI