Plastic Pirates – Go Europe!
a Citizen Science Initiative to study plastic pollution in rivers
The pollution of beaches and riverbanks in Europe with plastic waste does not stop at borders. Avoiding micro- and macroplastics in the environment, the scientific classification of this challenge and research into sustainable materials are therefore tasks on which we must work together throughout Europe.
Plastic Pirates - Go Europe! was first developed as Plastic Pirates in Germany in 2016. Since January 2022, with the support of the EU Commission, the initiative has been extended to all of Europe as a European citizen science action, where school classes and youth groups (young people aged 10-16) collect plastic samples from streams and rivers and document their findings. The data collected across Europe is entered into a database and then analyzed by scientists*.
Young people who are interested in science and the environment are thus given the opportunity to participate in practical research. They make an important contribution to research into the state of European rivers and the extent and pollution caused by plastic waste.
As part of the project, the types of waste identified by each group (e.g. cigarette butts, pieces of foil or packaging) are recorded on a suitable riverbank or stream with the help of detailed action materials and subsequently published on a digital map. The data collected by the young people will then help the scientific community to gradually close existing research gaps on the occurrence, composition and generation of plastic waste.
Interested school classes and youth groups are invited to participate in the initiative.
Contact: DI Dr. Gudrun Obersteiner