On Tuesday 14 February 2023, Venice Lagoon Plastic Free travelled to the Netherlands for the kick-off meeting of new Horizon Europe project SeaClear 2.0. Hosted by the University of Delft, acting also as project coordinator, the meeting allowed consortium members to meet for the first time, outlining the project’s action plan and key objectives, as well as discussing the tasks to be assigned to each partner. The project consortium consists of 13 partners from 9 different countries, with a blend of expertise in public engagement, policy making, robotic perception and control, artificial intelligence, marine, and diving technology and operations, and litter sorting and recycling.
VLPF is the only NGO and the only Italian association within the project consortium.
The Project: SeaClear 2.0
Following the success of the Horizon 2020 SeaClear project, SeaClear 2.0 (Scalable Full-cycle Marine Litter Remediation in the Mediterranean: Robotic and Participatory Solutions) will go beyond the technological innovation of the previous SeaClear project. SeaClear 2.0 is an integral part of the EU Mission “Restore our Ocean and Waters”, aiming to protect and clean up our seas and waterways through applied research and innovation and citizen participation, hoping to catalyse investments from the Blue sector.
The project will integrate cutting-edge technologies into a comprehensive approach that engages communities in finding solutions to marine litter pollution, increases waste value, and contributes to science-based policy making.
The key focus of SeaClear 2.0 is the creation and deployment of smart robots which can be used to identify and remove marine debris from both the surface and the floor of the sea. Building upon the technology already developed in the H2020 SeaClear project, the technological core of SeaClear 2.0 is a heavily upgraded robotic system for automated litter collection, which can go deeper, lift heavier litter, and tackle surface litter.
Venice Lagoon Plastic Free’s role in the project
Within the frame of the SeaClear 2.0 project, VLPF will develop a gamified public engagement app and portal. Thanks to VLPF’s involvement in the co-development, testing and validation of both the MAELSTROM and the In-No-Plastic apps for marine litter clean-up and social mobilisation, our association was considered best suited to upscale the digital solutions of this new project, starting from Venice and beyond.
The SeaClear 2.0 Portal and App will be developed mostly based upon experience from the In-No-Plastic and ‘Ghost Boats’ projects. The portal will provide a front end for project operators and public users for the data collected by the app. The app will identify, geo-localise and track macro litter uploaded by infield actors via smartphone: location, volume, weight and type of material found/removed, pictures/videos, date, and more.
VLPF will validate the portal and app in the pilot site of Venice and its lagoon by working with local users (NGOS, CSOs, rowing clubs, tourism and recreational sector) to organise and implement dedicated events.
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