• Plastic waste on a beach © KDM?

    Ocean Plastics Lab

    Pieces of plastic on beaches are unfortunately a familiar sight. But what is washed up on shores is just a fraction of the oceans’ pollution: between 4 and 12 million metric tons of plastic land in the oceans every year. > more

  • Researchers on a beach © V. Rüttler | GEOMAR

    SEE the waste

    Plastic is everywhere. Rivers and streams wash plastic waste into the oceans. 80 per cent of the oceans’ pollution comes from land-based sources. Follow scientists onto coasts and into deep seas. Dive in and explore! > more

  • Sea turtle entangled in fishing gear © Greenpeace | Caré | Marine Photobank

    DETECT impacts

    Up to 1,400 species are affected by marine litter. Look into the scientists’ Petri dishes and detect the impacts. What happens to plastic when it ends up in the ocean? > more

  • Volunteers cleaning a beach © Surfrider Foundation Europe

    BUILD co-solutions

    Plastic is an integral part of our everyday life: wrappers, bottles, toys, pens, bags – and the list goes on. We all constantly use plastic. That makes it so difficult to avoid. Science and society have to find solutions together. > more

Ocean Plastics Lab
Travelling Exhibition

The Ocean Plastics Lab is an exciting exhibition about science: It showcases the contribution of science to understand and combat the problem of plastics in the ocean. The Lab will travel to various locations worldwide, inviting the public to engage with scientific work being done right now around the world. In the context of current discussions about science in society the Lab demonstrates science's fundamental role in tackling societal challenges and highlights that society is an integral part of science.


The exhibition is designed as a hands-on science lab, inviting visitors to assume the role of scientists and over the course of four consecutive containers explore the extent and impact of plastics in the ocean. The first container introduces visitors to the 'Ocean Plastics Lab' and hence the problem of marine plastics. The second container allows visitors to 'SEE the waste' through various scientific exhibits routinely used by scientists to determine the sources, quality and quantity of marine plastics in the world’s oceans. Building on the findings of the second, the third container is designed to help the visitors 'DETECT impacts' of marine plastics on marine flora and fauna. After having identified and quantified plastics in the ocean and having analysed its effects on marine animals, ecosystems and humans, the fourth container invites visitors to 'BUILD co-solutions' by making informed personal decisions and though participating in citizen science activities.

The exhibits encompass interactive installations, displays and animations on loan from laboratories, research institutes and various other science and civil society partners worldwide. The Ocean Plastics Lab has been initiated by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research together with the German Marine Research Consortium and international partners from policy and science.

The Ocean Plastics Lab started travelling in September 2017 with its very first stop in Turin, Italy. In Turin and following locations, the Lab will act as a hub for launching further activities, to create a multiplier effect helping to include the local audience in long-term engagement.