Sci/Tech

Unconventional Means to Spot Flytippers Discovered

VANCOUVER, BC: JANUARY 5, 2010 -A seagull takes off from the pier at Granville Island as Vancouver enjoys a partly-sunny day January 5, 2010. (Jenelle Schneider/PNG) (story by Glen Schaefer) [PNG Merlin Archive] PROJECT=VAN125 FOR E-STORE

 

Landfill taxes in Europe are on the increase, and therefore a black market to get away with it has been slowly booming.

To help combat this, Joan Navarro, a researcher for ecology has discovered an unconventional means to do so. Seagulls, who love garbage have been equipped with GPS trackers. Through these tracker-equipped seagulls, criminals guilty of flytipping can now be easily spotted.

These birds are believed to be of great help for law enforcement in the future.

The experiment was performed with the help of 19 of these birds, and works by having the GPS tracker detect the bird’s location every 5 minutes. The bird tracks are then mapped to determine where they frequently go back to.

In the trials, it was found that they frequently visit a spot in Huelva, Spain, thus, paving the way for an illegal dumpsite in that area to be spotted.

Other advantages of this project is that the trackers are solar-powered and are of low-maintenance, as the trackers need not be recalibrated or adjusted on a perpetual basis.

The only major disadvantage, however, is its inability to detect where other forms of waste, such as toxic elements and electronic parts are illegally dumped, given that birds are only fond of food scraps.

 

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