UNEP & Google use technology to tackle plastic waste

UNEP & Google use technology to tackle plastic waste
Technology helps in building a sustainable future
| 3 Min read

In a recent initiative, Unites Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) & Google have partnered to address the growing Plastic Waste Pollution in the Mekong River. Using technology to tackle plastic waste is an effective tool in bringing significant change with precision work.

The Mekong River is a transboundary East Asia and South East Asia river, flowing through China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia & Vietnam. It is also, one of the most polluted rivers in the world, transporting more than 40,000 tonnes of plastic waste into the oceans.

High amount of plastic waste in the Mekong River, that passes through Myanmar
Plastic waste in Mekong River. Picture Courtesy: Mekong Eye

Outcomes of using Technology

There are multiple challenges, which can and are being overcome using technology to tackle plastic waste pollution of the river

  • Determining the “leaks” – .i.e the point of entry of plastic waste into the system, so as to address the waste management system at that particular entry point
  • Transportation of waste in the river ecosystem is challenging given the varied terrain and the weights of plastic waste
  • The concentration of plastic and the extent of contamination of the food chain both in the terrestrial and aquatic ecosystem must be understood

What is being done?

Using Google’s technical expertise the CounterMEASURE project is implemented to overcome these challenges. Additionally, the initiative will uncover a more detailed and accurate reality of plastic waste pollution in the Mekong River.

The Geo-Informatics Center (GIC) at the Asian Institute of Technology had worked on the CounterMEASURE project from 2019 -2020. With Google and UNEP collaborating, officials believe it will give a deeper understanding of the river’s fight with plastic waste.

“The plastic pollution crisis needs high quality, scalable solutions that can be used in areas that run the highest risk of leaking plastics into our oceans”
Emmanuel Sauquet, Vice President of Google

The project will use Google’s machine learning and Mapping expertise:

  • Community participation helps in building a strong algorithm
  • Annotated images will help in identifying plastic leakage spots on the map
  • The map will help local and national authorities to develop a targeted approach and relevant policies

UNEP aims to implement this project across other highly polluted rivers across the world, with River Ganga being in India.

The use of technology to devise policy measures and action plans has been used for a long time now. With the growing innovations and advancements, the use of technology to tackle plastic waste has been precise, accurate, and revolutionary.

Technology enables waste collection from organizations, and industries. as well as water bodies. Team Recykal’s innovative technology to tackle plastic waste is easy, transparent, and traceable. Ensuring effective disposal of waste and fair remuneration in return for the waste.

Recykal Initiative

With the help of Forest Officials, Team Recykal helped local waste collectors to collect and sell their waste using Technology and Online applications
Plastic waste collected from the Amrabad Tiger Reserve, & channelled using Recykal’s technology

Recently, we used technology to tackle plastic waste in the Amrabad Tiger Reserve, which is the 6th largest tiger reserve in India, in the Nalla Malla Forest reserve. Technology helps the local waste collectors to collect, process, and transport the waste at a fair price in return.

The Smart Centre Solution by Recykal is an example of using technology to tackle plastic waste, especially by the informal sector members.

In addition to that, they account for more than 94% of the recycling industry in India. With this application, they can effectively sell and receive immediate digital payments.

Team Recykal’s digital technology aims to establish a sustainable circular economy by innovating methods to create a robust value chain

“Technology is bridging gaps and enabling the waste ecosystem in India”

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