Photo Mateja Grego
Mateja
National Institute of Biology
Slovenia

What is your motivation to involve in the project?
I am proud to participate in such a special project as Plastic pirates, under the guidance of German partners and together with Portuguese. My main interest is to expand my knowledge of ocean plastic pollution to riverine plastic pollution. There is not much known about the pollution of Slovenian rivers with plastic and microplastic, so the information gathered during the Plastic Pirates will be extremely valuable for our country. To my opinion waste and plastic can be easily identified/categorized by children/youth/mentors, in comparison to ex. animal or plant species, and the information gathered is therefore very reliable! I look forward to communicating this important problematic to teachers or mentors in Slovenia.

Why is citizen science important for Slovenia?
In Slovenia the citizen science projects are becoming important only in last few years. This will be the first citizen science project dealing with plastic pollution; most of them are focused on field biology (bird determination, reports on trees). To be a scientist one needs to be a good observer. In the era of technology and social media, when one is bombarded by too many information, to be a good observer is even more challenging, e.x. observing the nature. I am confident there are plenty of prosperous scientists among young people, but with no idea where to start. Here, the mentors will guide them through Plastic pirate initiative.

What is your biggest wish for the future?
My biggest wish for the future to promote that less is more. All our society should redesign habits, do less shopping for new things (clothes, phones), less travelling by plane to distant places, and selecting things to do (we do not need to be all surfers, paragliders, skiers, bikers, but it is enough to have two hobbies instead of ten to show on social media). There are plenty of empty old buildings in cities and countryside of Slovenia, but it is still a practice (sometimes even cheaper) to build new ones on agricultural areas. My goal is to activate locally and promote the reuse vision. The corona epidemic thought us that much can be done from where we are, from home, with the resources we have and stay connected through web platforms.

We are happy to announce the new Plastic Pirates Podcast! In our first episode, our Slovenian partner Mateja speaks about the mission against plastic waste in Slovenia. Have fun listening!