The fascination for the ocean and rivers together with their importance as a guarantor of species diversity know no bounds. But plastic pollution on beaches and riverbanks in Europe also doesn’t stop at man-made borders. For this reason, avoiding micro- and macroplastic in the environment, a scientific approach to this challenge and researching sustainable materials are tasks which we Europeans must take on together. As part of their joint Trio-Presidency of the Council of the European Union for 2020 and 2021, Germany, Portugal and Slovenia are advocating particularly for clean seas, ocean and rivers, as well as the nature surrounding these waters. At the same time, school classes and youth groups are called upon to collect plastic waste along the banks of rivers and streams, to document the various types of the plastic waste collected at different points of a section of a river and actively support research as part of this international citizen science campaign. Are you a teacher or a leader of a youth group? Have you found a suitable stretch along a river or stream? Then you can get started! Using the detailed project materials, the types of waste identified by the individual groups (e.g. cigarette butts, pieces of film or packaging) are published on a digital map, thus assisting the scientific community in gradually closing gaps in the existing research on the amount of different types of plastic waste. The fight against pollution from plastic waste, for cleaner water and for preserving natural resources for future generations in a united Europe can only be a success if we – the citizens – actively support joint political initiatives in the places we live.
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