Due to the success of the citizen science campaign "Plastic Pirates" in the years 2016, 2017 and 2018, the youth campaign has been extended again as part of the research focus "Plastics in the Environment", which is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research. This year, the campaign takes place from 1 May until 30 June 2019 and allows young people between 10 and 16 years old to become scientists and contribute to a large citizen science project. We invite all young people to join!
For the citizen science project "Plastic Pirates – The Sea Starts Here!" school classes and youth groups explore German waterways to find, count and document plastic litter. Working materials (in German) 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. More than 10,000 young people have already participated in the campaign.
The goal of the BMBF's research focus "Plastics 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 20 joint research projects under the BMBF research focus 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.