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Fixed-wing aerial photography surveys of plastic debris on an Alaskan beach
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    Fixed-wing aerial photography surveys were conducted on a 1-km section of beach near Juneau, Alaska, to determine the feasibility of identifying man-made debris that washes ashore. Surveys were flown in JuIy 1990, and in June and August 1991. Photographs were taken with four different cameras at a range of flight altitudes (2O-4O2 m) and flight speeds (72-L39 km/h), using black and white or color film. A variety of debris items (e.g., trawl web, plastic bottles, rope, floats) were placed on the beach before each aerial survey. Most of these debris items could not be positively identified in any aerial photographs because of image smear. Exceptions were large, brightly colored items like some fragments of green trawl web (>t m²), orange buoy bags (60 cm diameter), and white buckets (20 L). Photographs taken at the lowest altitudes (<120 m) and slowest flight speeds (<100 km/h) were best for identifying debris items. Color film was better than black and white because it allowed the bright colors of some plastics to contrast sharply with the sand substrate. A camera equipped with a forward-motion compensator wil-I be tried next in an effort to reduce image smear and improve clarity of individual debris items in photographs.
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