Ocean plastic pollution is a transboundary, complex, social, economic and environmental problem with no easy solution. It is everywhere on the planet – including the Arctic where it poses a major threat to ecosystems, fisheries, aquaculture and recreation and tourism industries. For Arctic Indigenous Peoples who rely on food from the land and sea, it has the potential to be a major health concern.
The fact that debris from macro- and microplastics is a pressing global challenge, was reinforced in a Norway-sponsored resolution at last year’s UN Environmental Assembly in Nairobi. When it comes to plastic, Nairobi is not that far from Tromsø or other Arctic locations. The inability to manage and regulate the end-of-life of plastic has resulted in plastics becoming one of the largest challenges to the sustainability of the global environment.
Like greenhouse gas emissions and persistent organic pollutants, marine plastics are endangering the Arctic. Plastics are mostly produced, used, and discarded far from the northern regions, but plastic pollution has become visible even in the remote Arctic. While we do not know how much drifts north, there are local sources too.
An increasing number of scientific publications point to a growing concern about plastic in the Arctic. Several research groups, both in Norway and the Nordic countries, are working on projects related to plastic pollution in the Arctic marine environment. Their results show that urgent action is needed, which has set off a series of precautionary management decisions and policy processes. However, more data and deeper knowledge of plastic pollution are needed to understand the full scope of the problem and develop more sensible mitigation strategies, which are built on further research results. This side event aims to provide a forum for dialog between policymakers, managers and the research community on the issue of plastic pollution in the Arctic.
Moderated by Tina Schoolmeester, Polar and Mountain Expert at Grid-Arendal
Contact: Tina Schoolmeester Tina.Schoolmeester@grida.no
The event is sponsored by the Fram Centre
Date: Monday 22 January
Time: 17:00 – 18:30
Place: Radisson Blu Hotel, room 315