Young scientists investigate plastic waste

Three pupils from Geschwister Scholl School in Bremerhaven, Danny Dolinski, Mohannad Sarha and Rebal Issa, won first prize in the Earth & Space Science category of the regional round of “Jugend forscht”, a contest for young scientists. They also won the special award “Reset Plastic”. This means they have qualified for the next level of the contest at Federal Land level. The Bremen round in 2022 will take place on 7 and 8 March and is organised by Airbus.

This year, both the presentation of the projects to the jury and the award ceremony could only take place online. A total of 69 pupils entered the competition, submitting 34 projects in six categories.

The three winning pupils investigated the issue of “Pollution of the harbour basin in Bremerhaven with micro and macroplastics.” bremenports staff collected waste from the “Seabin” marine litterbin in Kaiserhafen and provided the pupils with 11 samples, who washed and sorted the plastic waste. bremenports also provided samples of mud, which the pupils tested for macro and microplastics.

Because of the type of waste, the pupils could prove that a large proportion of the pollution was caused by people who spent time in the immediate vicinity of the port, as most of the waste referred to plastic bags and plastic packaging.

bremenports launched the “Seabin” project a year ago. This marine litterbin has a capacity of 20 litres, removes up to four kilos of plastic a day from the harbour basin and filters particles with a size of 2mm or more out of the water. A plastic-free port, however, will require the cooperation of all stakeholders.

Director of Education Michael Frost is delighted about this successful cooperation: “I believe that this young scientists’ project supported by bremenports is an excellent example of learning by doing which also has a direct link to practical applications. In their project, the young contestants examined a problem which is relevant for Bremerhaven. I find it particularly remarkable that this project could be executed as a cooperative undertaking between the school and the port management company. This successful joint project strengthens the links between education, business and research. My sincere thanks and congratulations go to everyone involved on winning the 1st prize in the Earth & Space Sciences category of ‘Jugend forscht 2022’.”

bremenports Managing Director Robert Howe thanked the young research scientists for their excellent support. “Your work shows that the Seabin project can make a small but important contribution towards combatting plastic pollution of our waters. We intend to continue this project and add another location. We would be more than happy to support such projects with schools again in future.”



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