Marine plastic pollution in the Arctic


Plastic waste is an emergent pollutant in the Arctic affecting marine and coastal ecosystems and associated ecosystem services that contribute to human well-being. The high level of marine debris found in the region, suggest that there is a need to increase awareness of how this pollutant affect ecosystems, societies and industry, and to identify preventive measures that can contribute to sustainable development in the area.

This project will deliver management relevant research on marine waste using Svalbard and the Barents Sea as a case study regarding

  • the status and sources of marine waste
  • socio-economic costs of marine waste
  • regulations and incentives affecting how waste in general, and ship-waste in particular is handled.

PML scientists will work alongside scientists from Norway and Russia as well as representatives from key industries, management institutions and NGOs in the region. Ecological knowledge and social-science methods will be used to establish the status, origins and direct and indirect costs of marine waste and provide holistic, ecosystem-based management advice that accounts for and communicates the multiple values ecosystems deliver. The incentives and regulations governing marine waste management in the region will be analysed in terms of current laws and waste management practices, and the potential to minimize waste and optimize resource use.

To secure the social relevance of the project, a workshop with industry operating in the area, relevant policymakers and scientists will be organised in the final year, to communicate research findings and together develop a set of recommendations that can contribute to achieving the environmental quality objectives for marine waste in the Arctic.

Impact

To secure the social relevance of the project, a workshop with industry operating in the area, relevant policymakers and scientists will be organised in the final year, to communicate research findings and together develop a set of recommendations that can contribute to achieving the environmental quality objectives for marine waste in the Arctic.


Key information

Funder: Norwegian Research Council

Project start date: May 2016

Project end date: June 2019

View the project website

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Contact

Dr Nicola Beaumont
Environmental Economist