We met in the morning at the Hydra marine station and started simple by gathering some basic information about plastic. What types of plastic are produced and where? What is used for what purpose (e.g. industrial versus private) and how much is actually recycled? And what alternatives do already exist? We also made plans for the final posters that will later be presented at the Schloss Gymnasium in Düsseldorf Benrath by the pupils. The two groups sketched out their two main topics: one will focus on the global scale of plastic pollution, while the other on our collected data using Elba as a local “case-study”.
The world wide web is full of data and graphs regarding plastic pollution. One worrying number we found was 9%. That is the amount of the 5800 million tonnes of primary plastic, which is no longer in use and that has been recycled since 1950 (ourworldindata.org). In 1950, 2 million tonnes per year were produced, in 2015 it was no less than 381 million tonnes – a nearly 200-fold increase. Germans consume 320.000 coffee-to-go cups per hour; a number that resonates in our project’s title: “Awareness-to-go”. What has changed since 1950? Our addiction to convenience.
We went to a beach in Seccheto for our lunchbreak. In a rill, leading to the Mediterranean Sea, we easily spotted about twenty pieces of plastic at a single glance. That rill will be our target tomorrow. We will measure its length and width and collect the entire plastic waste to determine its type and weight. A more than welcome side-effect will be a clean rill for Seccheto.