Kiel Science Factory/IPN

Where do we find your pirate lair – by urban or wild riverbanks or at the wind-swept coast?
I live in Kiel, which makes me a proper coastal pirate of the Baltic Sea.

How did you become part of the Plastic Pirate crew?
I have been a Plastic Pirate since 2016. At that time, I was researching garbage pollution in the Pacific Ocean at the University Católica del Norte in Chile. We developed the methodology for Plastic Pirate sampling together with the Kiel Research Factory. In mid-2017, I moved to Kiel and now work directly in the research lab as a Plastic Pirate.

Captain, Bosun or Deckhand? What is your job onboard the Plastic Pirates ship?
Right now, I mainly support the project as a “data pirate”. Together with my crewmate Sinja, we evaluate all the data collected by the many different Plastic Pirates throughout Germany. We then review this data, analyze it and evaluate which measures would be beneficial for reducing litter in rivers. The findings are then published in English in scientific journals.

How do you personally experience the problem of plastics in our environment?
I’m frustrated that policy-makers and companies are so inactive and pass the responsibility for the waste problem on to the citizens. Of course we need environmentally conscious individuals, but more importantly a strong policy that holds companies accountable for selling environmentally friendly, unpackaged, and regional products - especially when it comes to food.

What does the Plastic Pirates project mean to you?
The Plastic Pirates means a lot to me. I am really proud that so many students, teachers and other committed people are participating. I remember back in 2016 when we were still sitting in front of the website eagerly hoping that at least a few schools would participate. Now we have many Pirates working throughout Germany. I find it especially nice that you can combine personal commitment and a publicly visible project with serious science in such a "simple" and meaningful way.

What do they call you aboard the pirate ship?
Timotheus, Schrecken der Thermoplaste (Timotheus, Horror of the Thermoplastics)