Second part of the Arctic Marine Beach Litter expedition At this moment, we are sailing on the Ortelius with Oceanwide Expeditions around the northern tip of Spitsbergen. We are on our way to the next monitoring location of this second part of the Arctic Marine Litter expedition. Like the first…
Monitoring for litter on Poolepynten and Sarstangen shows the ocean pollution of the Gulfstream. On its way to the North, the Gulfstream will pick up any litter item that floats. When these items arrive in the Arctic, they will remain here. This is why the amount of litter in the Arctic is building up every year. As a consequence, the sea around Svalbard ends up becoming the drain hole of the Gulfstream.
During the first litter monitoring on Jan Mayen, it was noticable that much of the found litter was fishery litter. We found 104 floats or pieces of floats, bits of net (26), tangled nets (20) and ropes (43) on the beach.
In remote regions such as the Arctic, some beaches are literally strewn with large pieces of litter such as nets, buoys, household plastics and other waste. This raises all kinds of questions. How can so much marine litter end up here? What is it exactly? How does it find its way into the ocean? And where does it come from? One could also wonder whether there is a link to certain economic activities in Svalbard, or whether the litter has come from further afield. If so, from where and how?