The Plastic Pirates Autumn Samplings are about to start! School classes and youth groups almost all over Europe will collect plastic to support the study of plastic pollution in European rivers from september till december. Are you curious? Then join the fight against plastic pollution and come aboard!

Latvia has joined the Plastic Pirates

Latvia has joined the Plastic Pirates!

We are thrilled to announce that another European country has joined the Plastic Pirates initiative: Welcome aboard, Latvia! Let's fight plastic pollution of the environment together. We are looking forward to your contribution and are thanking Latvian schools and students in advance, for taking part in reaching the goals of the Mission Restore our Oceans and Waters by 2030.


Teaming up against plastic waste!

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.

  • Are you interested in the Plastic Pirates campaign and want to learn more?

  • Do you want to do a sampling?

  • Would you like to check your group's results?

    • Check out our interactive map and see if your sampling appears on the map.

  • Are you interested in preliminary results of the Plastic Pirates campaign?

    • Read through the results page to learn more about plastic waste pollution in our rivers and waters.

  • Would you like to know more about how the European Commission supports this project?

    • To learn more about Horizon Europe and the Mission Restore our Oceans and Waters by 2030, click here.

Join us!

And help us close 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.



Goal of the campaign

The project

Europe is taking a joint approach to this task – a task with global importance. Water makes up nearly two-thirds of the earth’s surface, and seas and the ocean have an enormous impact on the stability of our climate. Due to their diversity, bodies of water around the globe are a unique habitat for flora and fauna. If you live inland, far from the nearest sea, you may be asking yourselves what this all has to do with you? A lot!


Europe’s rivers: the lifeblood of an entire continent

It may start with small rivers further inland that connect to other rivers, but they eventually reach the sea. Need an example? The Danube, Europe’s longest river, flows through a total of ten different countries before reaching the Black Sea after traversing some 2,850 kilometres. Unfortunately, it’s not just ships, fish and plant remains that make their way to the sea via rivers. Different types of plastic waste as well – particles hardly visible to the human eye as well as yogurt pots or entire plastic bags in equal measure – ultimately find their way to the ocean.


The task

In 2020, ‘capturing’ this waste on the riverbanks and near bodies of water becomes the Europe-wide task of the Plastic Pirates. By collecting plastic waste and uploading data on the amount of waste found, you – together with your school class or extracurricular youth group – can help conduct research on the pollution of bodies of water. Uniform experimental guidelines and working steps for all teams which participate ensure that, throughout Europe, the data collected is comparable and will become visible step by step on an online map.

On the one hand, the joint campaign of the ministries of education, science and research of the three countries is intended to raise awareness throughout Europe for the importance of rivers as common lifelines, as well as for protecting our natural resources. On the other hand, the campaign aims to emphasise the importance of international research collaboration.