Fundamental and Applied Limnology : 194 (DocId: 1) 67–76.
Plastic pollution in the aquatic enviromnent has recently gained worldwide attention. Meanwhile, intensive research activities have been initiated in this environment; however, the effects and consequences of the plastic pollution are not fully known and have to be better understood. To facilitate information exchange between different global regions, the German Federal Institute of Hydrology (BfG) and the International Centre for Water Resources and Global Change (ICWRGC) organized a Summer School entitled “Plastics in Marine and Freshwater Environments” in July 2017. In preparation for the course, a questionnaire was sent to all participants coming from Asia (India, Philippines), Africa (Egypt, Liberia, Nigeria, South Africa), Latin America (Brazil, Mexico), and East, South and Southeast Europe (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Italy, Romania, Russia (European part), Serbia, Slovenia). The outcomes of this survey and discussions during the Summer School concerning micro- and macroplastics, especially in rivers and the oceans, reveal that countries are aware of the problem and that first measures have been conducted, especially initiated by Non-Governmental Organizations and authorities. In general, few data are available regarding plastics in rivers and the disposal into the oceans. However, the issue has progressively penneated whole society’s awareness of the importance of education as a key element in solving the plastic problem. The majority of the countries include the subject already in the curriculum of primary schools. Moreover, regulations exist, especially regarding waste, but have to be better implemented and enhanced.