Latvia joins citizen science campaign “Plastic pirates – Go Europe!”

LIAE and FEE Latvia invite groups of students in 8-12th grades to apply to study plastic pollution in local rivers and waterways

Latvia joins citizen science campaign “Plastic pirates – Go Europe!”

European citizen science campaign “Plastic Pirates – Go Europe!” invites students in 8-12th grades to learn more about plastic pollution and support research on the state of Europe’s rivers. Starting this autumn, Latvia will be among 12 countries participating in “Plastic Pirates – Go Europe!” initiative.

Rivers connect all of Europe – from small streams to large rivers. A large amounts of waste enter the seas and the ocean through rivers, which threatens aquatic inhabitants and the entire ecosystem. In order to understand the scale of the problem and to find solutions to it in the Latvian environment, this citizen science initiative will be launched in the next few weeks as part of the campaign involving students of the 8th – 12th grades and studying local waterways.

The aim of “Plastic Pirates – Go Europe!” is to strengthen scientific cooperation in Europe and increase awareness of conscious treatment of the environment. Schools and youth groups are encouraged to participate in the campaign to monitor plastic waste on riverbanks and collect of microplastic samples, as well as summarize the obtained results. The collected microplastic samples will then be analyzed by scientists.

The obtained data will be publicly available on the website https://www.plastic-pirates.eu/ together with the results from other countries.

Along with surveying rivers, schools will also implement the Plastic Pirates educational program, organize informative events and including topics about plastic pollution in the curriculum.

On August 18 in the framework of EU LIFE Integrated Project “Waste To Resources IP” Ecoschool coordinators were introduced by Latvian Institute of Aquatic Ecology (LIAE) to the campaign in Latvia. A presentation and demonstration were carried out where more than 70 Ecoschool coordinators learned about the initiative and sampling methodology.

“We are pleased to initiate the campaign “Plastic pirates – Go Europe!” in Latvia. Microplastic pollution is becoming more and more relevant and there are serious concerns about its impact on human health and other living organisms. In this project we will provide analysis of the microplastics collected by students, determining the type of plastic polymers. The obtained results will expand our knowledge about plastic pollution and its main sources in Latvian rivers and will provide an opportunity to compare the results with other rivers in Europe.”

LIAE Senior Researcher and leader of Microplastics Laboratory Inta Dimante-Deimantoviča

The sampling period will start on September 15 and the results must be collected and submitted by November 15. Young people will be provided with the necessary equipment and sample collection protocol, as well as other useful materials.

“There have been studies on plastic pollution in Latvia, but this is the first time that a citizen science initiative involves schools on a large scale and specifically for collecting microplastic pollution data”

LIAE Research Assistant Valentīna Burdukovska

Agate Albekeite, Campaign Coordinator at FEE Latvia, says “This is an opportunity to expand the knowledge of Latvian youth not only about plastic pollution in their surroundings, but also about the process of scientific research. We are pleased to expand the Eco-school environmental education program with involvement in real scientific activities in the field of the Environment Sciences.”

Schools and youth groups are invited to apply for the campaign by filling out the form here. More information about this EU-funded campaign: https://www.plastic-pirates.eu/en.

Contact information for schools about application: Agate Albekeite, phone no. 27735954

For questions about the use of microplastic net: write to mikroplastmasa[at]lhei.lv

Information prepared by Evelīna Krieviņa – Hammere, jaunumi[at]videsfonds.lv

#PlasticPiratesEU

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