Game of Drones: Norway turns to drones to find trash in the fjords
Norway's fjords have long inspired the country's artists and drawn streams of tourists. In winter, their ice-laced surfaces shimmer beside snow-capped mountains: a vision of natural beauty, blissfully untouched. But lost in the depths of the fjord in Oslo, stretching out from the capital, is a trove that would please any intrepid archaeologist or Nordic noir sleuth: sunken Viking trinkets, warships from WWII and more. Mostly, though, the fjord is filled with garbage, like unwanted cars. And that has alarmed environmentalists.
Now, the capital is turning to new technology to help pinpoint the litter so that human divers can scour it off the seabed. This past Thursday (March 1), board members of Oslo 's Port Authority approved a pioneering trash-removal plan. "We will test out drones," said Svein Olav Lunde, the chief technical officer of the Oslo Port Authority, shortly after the meeting, explaining how these unmanned vessels will be used to help clear out underwater "islands of trash."Geir Rognlien Elgvin, aboard member, says he believes that Oslo 's port will be the first in the world to try this sort of trash pickup. The drones will plunge into the depths of Oslo Fjord this spring. An electric-powered ship with a crane will join the cleanup fleet by next year (2019).
Oslo is turning to drone technology partly because of a dead dolphin - bloodied, beached and ensnared in plastic. Gory images of the carcass, taken in January on a trash-strewn shore of Oslo Fjord , resonated on social media among Norwegians, who tend to see their jagged coastline as a paragon of untouched natural beauty. Ambitious plans to clean up the city's industrial waste and sewage have been in the works for decades, along with a proposal for a car-free city centre and a ban on using oil to heat buildings that is to go into effect in 2020. Campaigns like these won Oslo the European Green Capital Award for 2019. Fjords are indelibly linked to Norway 's identity as a seafaring nation. The long, narrow, deep inlets form at the base of mountains where ocean water flows into valleys formed near the coast. The Oslo Fjord is 62 miles (100km) long.