The Arctic Marine Litter Project is an ongoing collaboration between Wageningen Economic Research, Wageningen Marine Research, SALT Lofoten and Leemans Maritime Consultancy. During the Arctic Marine Litter expeditions we investigate the quantity and type of waste on the beaches there, and determine its sources. This is necessary in order to devise strategies for tackling the problem.

The Drain of the Gulfstream

The ocean pollution of the Gulfstream

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.

The Arctic Marine Litter expedition has begun!

Marine litter expedition to Spitsbergen

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?