Plastic Pirates - Go Europe! a Citizen Science Initiative to investigate plastic pollution along rivers
The pollution of beaches and riverbanks in Europe with plastic waste does not stop at borders. Preventing micro- and macroplastics in the environment, addressing this challenge scientifically and researching sustainable materials are therefore tasks we need to work on together across Europe.
Plastic Pirates - Go Europe! was first developed in Germany in 2016. Since January 2022, with the support of the EU Commission, the initiative has been extended to the whole of Europe as a European citizen science action in which 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 analysed by scientists. Young people who are interested in science and the environment are given the opportunity to participate in practical research. They make an important contribution to researching 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 the individual groups (e.g. cigarette butts, pieces of foil or packaging) are recorded on a suitable river bank or stream with the help of detailed action materials and subsequently published on a digital map. The data collected by the young people will help science to gradually close existing research gaps on the occurrence, composition and production of plastic waste.