Where do we find your pirate lair – by urban or wild riverbanks or at the wind-swept coast?
I live in Kiel on the beautiful Baltic coast. I am a marine biologist, which makes me a proper coast pirate.
How did you become part of the Plastic Pirate crew
I have been working at the Kiel Science Factor since 2015. Back then, I started off as an research assistant, going on to lead an EU project on marine mammals.
I became a member of the Plastic Pirates crew right before the EU project started. I even worked on the very first Plastic Pirates research manual in 2016. I also developed and tested the first microplastic net prototype with simple, everyday materials from the hardware store. Once the EU project on marine mammals ended in 2019, I became a full-time Plastic Pirate.
Captain, Bosun or Deckhand? What is your job within the Plastic Pirates crew?
I suppose I would be a deckhand. I mainly organize the shipping of the sampling nets during the action periods and help the groups with the sampling. I also contribute to the organization and implementation of the webinars for teachers. We have already conducted two successful online webinars in Germany, and we are now venturing onto the international stage. I am currently planning an international webinar for teachers around the world to spread the word about Plastic Pirates even further and expand our fleet.
How do you personally experience the problem of plastics in our environment?
Unfortunately, it is and remains a very big problem. It is sadly quite common to see people who do not care about their environment and pollute it unnecessarily. For example, I often see how people throw garbage (especially cigarette butts) onto the street when driving or walking. In the supermarket, bananas are packed in plastic bags. This is completely unnecessary - their peels protect them. At the moment, you can also find a lot of used masks carelessly thrown away.
During lockdown, I was often went out with my little family to pick up garbage at the beach or in the neighborhood. A regular bucket was usually too small for our clean-ups.
What does the Plastic Pirates project mean to you? What is particularly great about the project?
The project really shows the severity of environmental pollution in our own backyards and that everyone can do something against this. I think it is fantastic that so many young people are participating in the project and that they are having fun with it.
What do they call you aboard the pirate ship?
Dennis Düsentrieb von den Schweinswalen (Dennis Jet-Engine of the Porpoises)