Initially developed for the Science Year 2016/*17 – Seas and Oceans of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the funding for the youth campaign "Plastic Pirates" has been extended as part of the BMBF's research focus "Plastic in the Environment". The campaign takes place from 1 May until 30 June 2018 and allows young people between 10 and 16 years old to become scientists and contribute to a large citizen science project. A second period for sampling is envisaged for 15 September until 15 November 2018. We invite all young people to join! For "Plastic Pirates", the PlastikNet team at Ecologic Institute is collaborating with the Kieler Forschungswerkstatt.
For the citizen science project "Plastic Pirates – The Sea Begins Here!" school classes and youth groups explore German waterways and coasts to find, count and document plastic litter. Working materials to participate in the project can be ordered online.
The collected data is uploaded into a database and subsequently analysed by the experts of Kieler Forschungswerkstatt. As, until today, little research has been carried out on the prevalence of plastic waste, as well as its distribution and range in German waterways, young people will make an important contribution to researching the spread of macroplastics and microplastics. The analysis of the data collected by young people in the first phase of the project revealed that one piece of litter has been found every two square meters along German waterways. In 2016/17 more than 5.500 young people from around 300 schools and organisations have participated in the campaign.
The goal of the BMBF's research focus "Plastic in the Environment" is to develop and establish scientific procedures, methods, instruments and concepts for investigating plastics in the environment. As part of its project PlastikNet, Ecologic Institute accompanies the 18 projects under the BMBF research programme by facilitating networking among them. PlastikNet also supports the synthesis of results across the various projects and is in charge of the public relations work of the research focus. For "Plastic Pirates", the PlastikNet team at Ecologic Institute is collaborating with the Kieler Forschungswerkstatt.