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In the Arctic, plastic from all over the world


The first map has been created on the origin of the waste that reaches the Arctic, one of the most pristine places in the world which in recent years has however been experiencing the problem of plastic (ANSA)

The first map on the origin of the waste that reaches the Arctic has been created, one of the most pristine places in the world which, however, has been experiencing the problem of plastic in recent years.

A citizen science project, i.e. research carried out thanks to the collaboration of ordinary citizens, coordinated by the Alfred Wegener Institute in Germany and described in Frontiers in Marine Science has made it possible to analyze the origin of this waste which also arrives from very distant places such as Germany and even Brazil.

We are tempted to imagine the white expanses of the Arctic as pristine places but in recent years it is increasingly easy to find large quantities of waste along the beaches.

To understand its composition and above all its origin, the researchers of the Helmholtz Center for Marine and Polar Research of the Alfred Wegener Institute asked for the help of tourists who visit the Svalbard islands in the summer.

Over time, the volunteers have collected around 1,600 kilos of waste, or 23,000 objects of various kinds distributed over 25,000 square meters of beaches.

The waste was then cataloged and an attempt was made to reconstruct its origin.

Almost 90% of these was plastic, mainly fragments of nets and other materials used in fishing and the rest instead waste of 'domestic' origin, probably transported by tourists or boats that had crossed the area.

Most of the objects whose provenance it has been possible to reconstruct come from neighboring countries, such as Russia and Norway, but some also come from far away, such as Germany, the United States, Brazil, China and South Korea. “Our results – he said one of the authors, Melanie Bergmann – highlight that even prosperous industrialized countries, which can afford better waste management, contribute significantly to the pollution of remote ecosystems such as the Arctic”.

A fact that confirms the need to improve not only local waste management, 

Source: ansa

All tech articles on 2023-02-10

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