Teaming up against plastic waste!
Next sampling period: 15 September - 15 November 2022
The fascination with the ocean and rivers, together with their importance as a guarantor of species diversity, know no bounds. But plastic pollution on beaches and riverbanks in Europe also doesn’t stop at man-made borders. For this reason, avoiding micro- and macroplastic in the environment, a scientific approach to this challenge, and researching sustainable materials are tasks which we Europeans must take on together.
Plastic Pirates – Go Europe! is a European Citizen Science campaign, in which school classes and youth groups collect plastic samples from streams and rivers and document their findings. The collected data is then analysed by scientists and researchers. In this way, young European citizens are making an important contribution to researching the state of European rivers and the extent and pollution caused by plastic waste.
The campaign was first developed as Plastic Pirates in Germany in 2016 by the Kieler Forschungswerkstatt (Kiel Research Workshop) and partners with funding from the BMBF for the Science Year 2016*17 - Seas and Oceans. In 2018 and 2019, the campaign was continued as part of the research focus "Plastics in the Environment" in cooperation with the Ecologic Institute. During Germany’s EU Presidency in 2020, the campaign was extended to the countries of the Trio-Presidency and implemented as a joint campaign by the Ministries of Education, Science and Research in Germany, Portugal and Slovenia in the period from 2020 to 2021.
Since January 2022, the campaign has been expanded to the whole of Europe with the support of the EU Commission. The Europeanisation of the Plastic Pirates Citizen Science initiative is funded by the European Commission's Research Framework Programme – Horizon Europe – in the area of the "Restore our Ocean and Waters by 2030 Mission". From 2022 to 2024, coordinated and synchronised "Plastic Pirates" collection campaigns will take place across Europe.
Have you found a suitable stretch along a river or stream? Then you can get started! Using the detailed project materials, the types of waste identified by the individual groups (e.g., cigarette butts, pieces of film or packaging) are published on a digital map, thus assisting the scientific community in gradually closing gaps in the existing research on the amount of different types of plastic waste. The fight against pollution from plastic waste, for cleaner water and for preserving natural resources for future generations in a united Europe can be a success only if we – the citizens – actively support joint political initiatives in the places we live.
Plastic Pirates – Go Europe! Are you with us?
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