A torn plastic bag on the riverbank or a yoghurt cup floating in the water are symptoms of serious interference with the highly complex system of seas, the ocean and flowing waterways. The Plastic Pirates – Go Europe! project focuses on this plastic waste problem and our future handling of it. It aims to familiarise young people with the general topic of the ocean and water cycles in the process. They will learn what it means to work scientifically – and try their hand at it.
Plastic Pirates – Go Europe! is a joint citizen science campaign by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) in collaboration with the Portuguese Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education and the Slovenian Ministry of Education, Science and Sport. The campaign is taking place in all three countries from 2020 to 2021 as part of the trio presidency of the EU Council. The goals of the campaign are to strengthen scientific collaboration in Europe, promote the level of dedication among citizen scientists and to raise awareness and consciousness for the environment. The joint project of the three countries demonstrates how citizens in Europe can work together to achieve common goals. In the years 2020 and 2021, pupils, teachers and scientists will collaborate to identify microplastics in rivers and their estuaries and contribute to a better understanding of environmental problems. The Plastic Pirates campaign was first developed in 2016 for the German Science Year 2016*17 – Seas and Oceans and, since 2018, has been continued within the framework of the research focus "Plastics in the Environment".
Within the consortium, Ecologic Institute is responsible for approaching schools and teachers, maintaining a hotline for interested teachers and campaign participants, coordinating the distribution of materials, and managing the website. Ecologic Institute is also supporting the public relations work and the content management of the website. In addition, a social science survey on the enabler function of teachers is planned.