Skip to main content

How the "Eco" Plastic Pirates Team is Fighting Plastic Pollution in the Havel

© Ecologic Institute


How the "Eco" Plastic Pirates Team is Fighting Plastic Pollution in the Havel

Berlin, Germany

In October 2023, it was time for the "Plastic Pirates" team of the Ecologic Institute to leave their desks and embark on a quest to find plastic waste. In autumn weather, the "Eco" Plastic Pirates explored the river Havel in Berlin-Spandau and made some interesting discoveries. Among their findings were 502 cigarette butts, 120 bottle caps, and 45 plastic bags. Additionally, various other types of waste were uncovered, including empty drink pouches, Hertha BSC stickers, broken lighters, and plenty of glass shards. The team's findings highlight societal issues related to single-use items and the urgent need to raise awareness about proper waste disposal.

The "Eco" Plastic Pirates recorded the results of their investigation on an interactive online map. Participating groups can also view the results from previous action periods on the map. The collected data will be scientifically evaluated by the Kiel Science Outreach Lab, which, together with the Ecologic Institute, is responsible for conducting the project in Germany.

"Plastic Pirates – Go Europe!" is a European citizen science project for clean seas, rivers, and waterside nature. The goal is to strengthen awareness of the importance and protection of rivers as natural resources and emphasize the added value of international research collaboration. In the fall of 2023, the focus of the "Plastic Pirates" in Germany is on the Elbe River system. Besides the Elbe, all tributaries can be sampled by the "Plastic Pirates," including the Havel, which originates in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, flows through Brandenburg and Berlin for 334 km, and finally merges with the Elbe on the border between Brandenburg and Saxony-Anhalt.

For more information about the campaign and participation, please visit the campaign website.


Doris Knoblauch
Co-Coordinator Plastics
Coordinator Urban & Spatial Governance
Senior Fellow

More content from this project

Project ID
Spandau, Berlin, Havel, Elbe River system
citizen science