Plastic Chunks On Arctic Ice.
Beaches on remote Arctic islands are heavily polluted with plastic, a new expedition has found, demonstrating that the region is the dumping ground for waste carried northwards on the Gulf Stream. The shorelines of islands in the Svalbard archipelago and of Jan Mayen island were found to be littered with much more plastic waste than on European beaches, despite tiny local populations. The cause is plastic drifting northwards up the Atlantic from Europe and north America, before being stranded in the Arctic. Plastic waste dumped in UK seas is carried to the Arctic within two years, according to a previous study. At least 1tn pieces of plastic have already been frozen into the Arctic ice over past decades, according to other research. This makes it a major global sink for plastic pollution, many times more concentrated than the well-known great Pacific garbage patch. With global warming causing rapid melting of the ice cap, plastic is being released and making the problem even worse. Plastic pollution kills animals that become tangled up and seriously harms those that mistake it for food. The expedition took Dutch scientists from the Wageningen Economic Research institute to six beaches in Svalbard, where they recorded 876 pieces of visible litter per 100m stretch of beach. On Jan Mayen Island, the most remote in the North Atlantic, they recorded 575 pieces. By comparison, an average of 375 pieces were found on Dutch beaches, despite their proximity to the source of the waste. Credit: Damian Carrington for The Guardian.
Read Article Here: