Rivers are an important source of marine anthropogenic litter, but the particular origins of riverine litter itself have not been well established. Here we used a citizen science approach where schoolchildren examined litter at riversides and identified possible sources at over 250 sampling spots along large and small rivers in Germany, during autumn 2016 and spring 2017.

The article "On the Trail of Plastics" provides an overview of the activities of the research focus "Plastics in the Environment - Sources • Sinks • Solutions" and explains which open questions are to be answered by the activities of the funded projects. In addition, the individual focal points and joint projects are listed and described in more detail.

One of the first cross-project results of the research focus has been published: The discussion paper "Microplastics Analytics" reflects the current state of research on physicochemical investigation methods within the research focus and is intended to contribute to a pool of methods that is as standardised as possible for the relevant application fields in science, industry and administration.
There is a high demand for easy, cheap, comparable, and robust methods for microplastic (MP) analysis. This article deals with the most prominent detection methods as well as with sampling strategies and sample preparation techniques. Special emphasis is on their benefits and challenges.
In this article, the authors analyze the diffusion patterns of plastic bag bans and plastic bag taxes in the Global South and Global North to contribute to the further refinement of diffusion theory by specifically addressing the under-researched Global South.

Ecologic Institute designed a promotional flyer in 4-fold flyer format as part of the visual identity for the project "Plastics in the Environment – Sources • Sinks • Solutions." The flyer summarizes the general objectives and aims of the project, contains a list of partners and contact information and is styled according to the project style-guide.

Between 2014 ​and 2017, a ​research group ​at the ​University of ​Bayreuth led by ​Prof. Dr. ​Christian ​Laforsch ​gathered and ​analysed water ​samples from 22 ​rivers, mainly ​in the ​catchment area ​of the Rhein ​and Donau (​Danube) rivers.

This report has been prepared for the European Commission by ICF in association with Eunomia and partners.

The objectives of the study were to:

At the kick-off conference of the BMBF research programme "Plastic in the Environment – Sources • Sinks • Solutions", the coordinators of the participating projects presented their research plans. Their presentations are now available for download.
The Overview of the Joint Research Projects presents the aims of the overall research programme as well as the 18 research projects and the accompanying research of PlastikNet. It is now available for download.
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