UArctic Thematic Network on Arctic Plastic Pollution
Marine litter is everywhere and unfortunately, the Arctic Ocean is no exception.
Modeling studies illustrate the potential for long-range transport of plastics into the Arctic, although the degree to which this occurs remains relatively undocumented. We utilised a teaching exercise at a UArctic summer school graduate course in Nuuk, Greenland to conduct a preliminary in-depth analysis of beach litter sources in the Nuup Kangerlua fjord. Students and instructors collected and analysed 1800 litter items weighing 200 kg from one location in the fjord and another at its mouth. The results suggest a predominance of local sources to macrolitter, rather than long-range transport from Europe. Fisheries-related items and rope were common. Packaging which could be identified was largely suspected to be products distributed in Greenland, and soft plastics, which rarely disperse far from its source, were also common. The results suggest local measures to reduce mismanaged waste and emissions from fisheries are important for reducing marine litter in West Greenland.