Automatic image recognition and CCTV cameras could be used for measuring litter


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An advanced system designed to use CCTV cameras and automatic image recognition software in order to detect when litter is being dropped is currently being developed by researchers at the University of Strathclyde, a recent news report in the local media has been able to reveal.

Zero Waste Scotland, the organization commissioning the work, has said the system would not be able to identify individuals dropping litter and therefore would not be used in order to issue fines. In fact, its purpose is to move beyond current methodologies for measuring litter which are, according to Zero Waste Scotland, a “poor measure of behaviour” as they involve counting up items on the ground.

“The software would enable automatic image recognition and CCTV to capture the instances of littering over a period of time and/or by footfall in a specified area,” said a spokeswoman for Zero Waste Scotland.

“It is intended to capture changes in movement, such as a small object (an item of litter) detaching from a larger object (a person), and as such will not be possible to identify a specific person using this system.

“It is not intended to be used for any other purposes, including to issue fines or to identify individuals who are littering.”

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