This project will improve monitoring of litter in our waterways. It will combine data from cameras and sensors on waterways and stormwater assets, together with advanced data analytics.
AI capabilities will be used to identify the types of litter moving along estuaries, creeks and stormwater drains. This information will help local government change their cleaning schedules to help reduce stormwater pollution, better educate the community and run enforcement activities upstream – before they reach Sydney Harbour.
This is world-leading technology provided through Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO.
3500m3 of litter is collected from Sydney Harbour every year. This is equal to about 44,000 wheelie bins full of waste.
As more swimming spots along the foreshores are open, it’s more important than ever that we are smart about keeping our waterways pristine.
Gross pollutant traps are fitted to many stormwater systems to catch rubbish before it makes its way into the Harbour. They are the last line of defence, but when there is too much rubbish built up, litter can escape into the Harbour.
Sensors will be installed on gross pollutant traps as part of the project. These sensors will tell local councils and government groups when the traps are full and need to be emptied. The sensor alerts will make sure we can clean these traps quickly, so they don't overflow.
Video cameras will also be installed on bridges over important waterways. This will allow us to use smart analysis and artificial intelligence to spot litter in the water. The video software can tell the difference between a chip packet and a soda bottle. This is useful information for the groups that take care of our waterways. The information can help us improve how we:
dispose of the collected waste
teach the community about keeping our waters clean
enforce rules about littering.
The trial of this project will help authorities keep our waterways healthy in a way that is efficient, timely and cost effective. If successful, the technology will be rolled out across the Greater Sydney Harbour catchment.
Smart Places outcome areas:
- skills, jobs and development
- health and wellbeing
- environmental quality.
The project will also deliver:
- a safer and cleaner Sydney Harbour for all to enjoy.
- improved understanding of stormwater management, litter prevention, and well-evidenced education campaigns to support a cleaner Sydney Harbour.
- improved management, maintenance and scheduling of stormwater assets for councils.
- implementation of a greater number of preventative measures for water waste management across Sydney Harbour.
- accurate data of litter in streams and stormwater drains, with an analysis that will enable greater understanding about point sources of the litter.
- support CSIRO to meet their goal of an 80 per cent reduction in plastic waste entering the Australian environment by 2030.
Want to implement a similar project? Visit our Smart Places Playbook for help.
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