GNF - Entry of microplastic in German and Italian lakes

Blue Lakes – Micro Plastics in Lakes

How to ban Micro Plastics in Lakes in Italy and Germany


Interactive Information Platform

Follow us on a virtual journey through our interactive information platform and find answers to many interessting questions:

Current situation

Plastic waste is a growing problem of water pollution worldwide. Due to their material properties, plastics hardly dissolve and thus remain in the environment for decades. The amount of nano- and microplastics is increasing in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. There are scientific studies on the effects of microplastics on oceans, for inland waters, there is significantly less data and knowledge available so far. However, studies have shown that plastics from terrestrial sources enter lakes especially via rivers and sewage. Synthetic fibre clothing releases microplastic particles when washed. Tyres and asphalt produce microplastics by abrasion. Although there is not yet a drinking water problem, experts are aware of the problem of harmful effects of microplastics on fish and thus also on the human food chain. Endocrine effects are also suspected. The EU Commission has started to restrict the use of intentionally added microplastics, e.g. in cosmetic products. Based on the "European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy", the Global Nature Fund (GNF) together with the Lake Constance Foundation and several Italian partners have initiated the "Blue Lakes" project. The project focuses on the avoidance and reduction of the input of plastic waste into lakes. The aim is to collect current practical knowledge in order to develop and promote solutions for the environmental problem of microplastics, which may have been underestimated in the past.

What are microplastics? explainity® explainer video,

Target groups

Target groups include political decision-makers, experts and specialists in the field of wastewater treatment and plastics, as well as the general public. The following institutions are being addressed: Authorities and municipal administrations, operators of wastewater treatment plants, school classes, tourists and citizens at the lakes in Italy and Germany. Companies, especially from the tire, asphalt, synthetic fibre textiles and cosmetics industries are also involved.

Geographic scope

In Italy and Germany, various project measures are being implemented in five lake regions (Lake Constance, Lake Chiemsee, Lake Garda, Lake Trasimeno and Lake Bracciano). Results are being shared with other organisations in Europe.

Aims and objectives of the project

  • Around 150 communities on the five Italian and German project lakes are involved developing a "Lake Paper" with information on new monitoring methods and technical solutions for the protection of lakes against plastic and microplastics.
  • A technical protocol is addressing wastewater authorities in Italy and Germany. 
  • Networking with scientific institutions that conduct research in the field of microplastics
  • Companies from the cosmetics, outdoor and tire industries will be invited to engage in a participatory process.
  • Informing residents, schools, tourists and communities on Italian and German lakes through an information campaign on microplastics.
  • Support decision-makers at Italian, German and European level to improve the existing legal frameworks.
 To the Project Webpage Blue Lakes ..
 Not a pretty sight, but reality: Plastic waste does not only line the beaches at seaside, but can also be found in shore zones of inland waters.
 Water analyses have shown that not only the water of the oceans is polluted with microplastics, but also in lakes, wetlands and rivers tiny plastic particles can be found.
 Plastic waste on the beach
 Each washing cycle of plastic articles releases microplastics.
 Cotton swabs with plastic handles will soon be a thing of the past in the EU.
 The abrasion from car tires, for example, enters the water cycle via rainwater.
 There are more environmentally friendly alternatives for many everyday objects made of plastic.
 In everyday life we use many things made of plastic.

Main Funder:

 Life+ Programm of the European Union


 Alfred Kärcher SE & Co. KG
 Sika AG
 Foundation Ursula Merz

Events and recordings


LIFE Blue Lakes – Microplastics in Lakes

1 July 2021

To the recording


Stellschrauben für Gemeinden zur Reduzierung von (Mikro-)Plastik

21 September 2021

To the recording (available only in German)


Microplastics in Lakes – Impacts and Approaches to Solutions
3 May 2022
To the recording


Microplastics in Lakes –The LIFE Blue Lakes Project Partner Event within the EU Green Week 2022

30 May 2022

To the recording


Microplastics in Outdoor Textiles: Round Table Informs (German Only)

21 October 2022

To the event


Contact persons

Mr Udo Gattenlöhner

Global Nature Fund - Office Radolfzell

Phone: +49 7732 9995 80



Project period:


Project countries:


Project partners:









Main Funder:



October 2019 - September 2023


Germany, Italy


Legambiente Onlus (Co-ordinator); Italy

Autorità di Bacino Distrettuale dell’Appennino Centrale; Italy

Agenzia Regionale per la Protezione Ambientale – Umbria; Italy

Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA); Italy

Università Politecnica delle Marche; Italy

Bodensee-Stiftung; Germany

Global Nature Fund; Germany


Life+ Programme of the European Union


Alfred Kärcher SE & Co. KG, Sika AG, German Postcode Lottery, Foundation Ursula Merz, Environmental Action Germany (DUH) Regional Association South, Association of Friends of the Institute for Lake Research and Lake Constance e.V.


Contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals

The project should make a concrete contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

 Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
 Goal 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
 Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
 Goal 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss