On 9 and 10 April 2019, the status conference of the research focus "Plastics in the Environment – Sources • Sinks • Solutions" of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) took place in the Kalkscheune in Berlin. The conference was organized by Ecologic Institute within the scope of the accompanying scientific research project PlastikNet. The coordinators of 20 joint research projects funded within the research focus presented their projects and explained first results as well as challenges of their projects. Particular interest was shown in the exchange and discussions on the six cross-cutting topics of the research focus. These are:
- Methods for sampling, sample preparation and analysis (incl. reference materials)
- Evaluation methods of possible effects of plastics on the environment (incl. toxicology)
- Terms and definitions
- Social and political dimensions
- Modelling (incl. life cycle assessment and data management)
- Recycling and product design
As part of the workshop of the cross-cutting issue 1, the discussion paper on microplastic analytics was presented, which was jointly developed by several joint research projects in order to bring together the physicochemical investigation methods used in the research focus.
In the panel discussion on cross-cutting topic 4, the panel participants emphasised that responsibility for plastic pollution and in particular countermeasures should not be attributed solely to consumers. Instead, more political regulation was needed.
The status conference was rounded off by a key note from Dutch performance artist Merijn Tinga, "The Plastic Soup Surfer", entitled "The Plastic Paradox", and a panel discussion on the question "How can plastic be reduced in the environment", attended by representatives from the Accompanying Panel of the research focus.
The conference program [pdf, 650 kb, German] is available for download.
Impressions and highlights of the conference on Twitter: #PidU2019.