Google helps tackle plastic pollution in the Mekong River, aided by machine learning

Channel Asia

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has partnered with Google to fight plastic pollution in the Mekong River, leveraging citizen science and machine learning to understand the magnitude of the problem impacting the longest river in Southeast Asia.

Aided by technical advisory support from Google, the CounterMEASURE project will build and deploy a new machine learning model capable of uncovering a more detailed and accurate view of plastic pollution in the river, which flows through China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.

“The plastic pollution problem demands creative solutions,” said Dechen Tsering, regional director of Asia Pacific at UNEP. “The CounterMEASURE project has already deployed an array of modern technologies to help map plastic pollution in rivers.

“With Google’s support, we are able to improve the detail and accuracy of this work, which will help UNEP develop guidance for local and national governments to effectively tackle plastic pollution in rivers.”

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