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Assessing Plastic Pollution during TA2021 Expedition

Plastic particles of varying sizes can be found even in remote environments, such as the high Arctic. During a three-week expedition (TA2021) macro- and microplastic pollution shall be assessed on beaches and in deposits.

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Project date

Starts
2021-08-08

Ends
2021-10-31

Project status

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Project type

  • field work

Discipline

  • other

Project Keywords

  • human dimensions / environmental impacts / contaminants
  • human dimensions / environmental impacts / environmental assessments
  • oceans / water quality / ocean contaminants

Fieldwork information

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Type Period From To Coordinates Station Location
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Summary

Life on earth is beautiful but tainted by human activity. In IASC's recent State of Arctic Science Report (IASC, 2020), the framework of the Third International Conference on Arctic Research Planning (ICARP-III) it notes the importance of “[m]onitoring contaminants and pollutants (including plastics) in all parts of Arctic human-environment systems” (IASC 2020, p. 6). Furthermore, plastics in the (marine) environment are listed as Emerging Arctic Research Issue under the subtopic Pollution: Sources, Sinks, and (Societal) Impacts. Macroplastic will be collected and assessed at beaches. To assess microplastic content, deposit layers will be sampled. Using a handheld soil core sampler, the depth to which microplastic particles can be found will be determined. These measurements will provide information on the current state of plastic pollution in remote Arctic areas and connects therefore with IASC’s ICARP-III Pillar 3. Furthermore, a vertical distribution map of microplastics within the active layer can be generated. Not only could this serve as a proxy for similar deposits but also give a relative time-depth to microplastic distribution.

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