Plastic pollution in general – and in the world’s oceans in particular – has emerged as a major environmental problem, and is now acknowledged as a threat to all ecosystems. Recent estimates predict that 5-12 million tonnes of plastic end up in the world’s oceans every year. And despite being remote and far away from the densely populated parts of the planet, the impact of plastic litter pollution is just as severe in the Arctic as in areas further south.
Plastic litter is directly proportionate to plastic consumption. Plastic litter from industrialised and densely populated areas is dispersed into the environment on a global scale. It also reaches the remote and seemingly untouched Arctic Ocean.
This is the conclusion of two scientists in Norway, Claudia Halsband from Akvaplan-niva and Dorte Herzke from NILU, the Norwegian Institute for Air Research, who recently published a report titled: Plastic in the European Arctic: What do we know? The two researchers who are both associated with the Fram Center in Tromsö, reviewed all currently available published research material on plastic pollution in the Arctic, covering a vast geographical Arctic area and based on varying methods.
In short, their report shows that the Arctic is under threat and may suffer further negative impact if plastic enters the food chain. They also identified numerous knowledge and data gaps regarding distribution, transport and impact of plastic litter in Arctic waters.
Click here for further reading: Plastic Is Found Everywhere In The Arctic – The Simple Truth
Photograph: JONAA@Linnea Nordström