TEAM 2: Agriculture Plastics in the fields of Finland

This is the team no. 2 for the Patras DataBio Hackathon 2019.

Team mentors: Jiri Kvapil, Karel Charvat, Tuula Löytty

Project description:

  1. Exploit Earth Observation data to gain accurate and up-to-date information of number of bales in the fields  The reference data is here (link).  
  1. Demonstrate  how to visualize the bale film usage on the fields in Päijät-Häme, Finland. Each bale takes about 70 m of film.The ‘standard” bale is  750mm x 1500mm rolls but there is variation. The thickness of the plastic film is  25‑30 µm. There are 4-8 layers. Film weight/bale varies from 500-1700 g. The output can be used for example to estimate the market size of bale wrapping films in a region.
  1. The third task is to map the different kinds of agriculture plastic films such as the covering films and nets for greenhouse, low or medium tunnel, soil mulching and solarisation films, irrigation and drainage pipes.

The background:

More than 80% of plastics found in marine environments has been produced, consumed and disposed of on land. In addition to inadequate end-of-life treatment of plastic waste, plastics reaches our soils through increasing use for agricultural purposes. According to APE-Europe about 750 000 tn of agriculture plastics and films is delivered to the farms annually. The image on the right performs the use in European countries annually.

The treatment of the Agriculture Plastic Waste (APW) has two main phases:  1) the plastic waste collection from the farms and 2) recycle to granules. In most European countries the collection rate is about 20-50 %. In Finland it’s 20%.  Due to the lack of coverage and functioning collecting system, the farmers dump APW to landfill, burn it at farm and cause emissions, bury it on soil or just stock the plastics on farm. The farmers want to act in a responsible manner, but the missing part is the collecting system. By continuing this manner, we waste valuable raw-material and cause damage on soil, air and seas.  The goal is to collect 100 % of the APW by 2030.

In order to reserve adequate, but not excess, facilities, machinery and man resources for collecting APW,  it’s necessary to have accurate and up-to-date information of the used agriculture plastics on the farms. The agriculture plastics distributors have some information, but there are gaps and it can lead to wrong assumptions.