Plastics in the Ocean - Waste management and sustainability


  • 15:00 Citizen Science for Better Management: Lessons Learned from Three Norwegian Beach Litter Data Sets
    Authors: Jannike Falk-Andersson ( SALT Lofoten ); Boris Woody Berkhout ( University of Leicester ); Tenaw Gedefaw Abate ( Norut )

    Increased plastic consumption and poor waste management have resulted in litter representing an ever-increasing threat to the marine environment. To identify sources and evaluate mitigation measures, beach litter has been monitored. Using data from two citizen science protocols (CSPs) and OSPAR monitoring of Norwegian beaches, this study 1) identifies the most abundant litter items, 2) compares OSPAR to citizen science data, and 3) examines how to improve the management relevance of beach litter data. The dominant litter types were; food and drink- and fishery related items, and unidentifiable plastic pieces. Data from CSPs are consistent with OSPAR data in abundance and diversity, although few OSPAR beaches limits verification of CSP data. In contrast to OSPAR, the CSPs estimates the weight of the litter. CSPs lack important variables which could explain why some litter types are abundant in some particular areas. The latter could be improved by recording GPS positions.

  • 15:15 History, trends, and impacts of the trade of plastic waste in the Arctic region
    Authors: Amy Brooks ( University of Georgia ); Jenna Jambeck ( University of Georgia )

    Recycling is often touted as a major strategy for reducing the amount of plastic waste that reaches the natural environment, but what happens to this waste once it is collected? Domestic markets can include recycled product manufacturing and waste to energy initiatives, but it is often more cost effective to ship plastic waste internationally for management. Particularly in Arctic countries with dispersed, rural populations, exporting plastic can be the most viable option for management. But the Arctic is not the only region to depend on this for management. In fact, 123 countries participated in exporting of plastic waste in 2016, and China alone has developed into the world’s most dominant importer of plastic waste due to the large plastic product manufacturing market there combined with the introduction of improved waste collection strategies in developed countries. But as of January 1st, 2018, China closed its doors to this waste through a national import ban policy. Reports of plastic waste accumulation around the world have been seen in the months since the implementation of the policy, and it is now estimated that 111 million metric tons of plastic waste will be displaced by it. In countries and regions like the Arctic that rely on alternative management strategies such as exporting, what does this mean? Nation members of the Arctic Council have collectively contributed to 15.5% of exports of plastic waste since 1988. Now that the recycling export market has been upturned, where will this waste now go? This study aims to characterize the history and trends of the plastic waste trade in the Arctic and quantify the potential impacts to the region from the Chinese import policy.

  • 15:30 Using Material Flow Analysis (MFA) to estimate plastic waste inputs in the ocean and on land from a commercial fishing sector in Norway
    Authors: Paritosh Deshpande ( NTNU Norwegian University of Science and Technology ); Annik Magerholm Fet ( NTNU Norwegian University of Science and Technology ); Dina Margrethe Aspen ( NTNU Norwegian University of Science and Technology ); Helge Brattebø ( NTNU Norwegian University of Science and Technology )

    Plastics debris is an ever-growing concern adversely affecting the coastal and marine ecosystem. Among the total marine plastic waste, a particularly troublesome waste fraction is the Abandoned, Lost or Discarded Fishing Gears (ALDFG) continuing to trap marine life for years upon release and have significant adverse environmental effects on coastal and marine ecosystems.  However, the lack of scientific data on estimated contribution to marine plastics from ALDFG and associated reasoning hinders the management of fishing gear (FG) resources across the globe.  To employ sustainable FG resource management, it is essential to understand life cycle processes and further monitor gear quantities in and between these processes.  Material Flow Analysis (MFA) is an established environmental accounting tool used to assess flows and stocks of materials in industrial and natural systems suitable for this purpose.

    In this study, we present a system life cycle of typical FGs used by commercial fishers in Norway and model the flows of plastics polymers (PP, PE, and Nylon) used as building blocks of advanced FGs.  Based on data from gear producers, suppliers, fishers, collectors, authorities, and waste management companies, we quantify the mass of the various fishing gear types used commonly in Norway for commercial fishing namely, trawls, seines (Danish and Purse), longlines, gillnets, and traps.  Structured, semi-structured interviews and a questionnaire was primarily used to collect the data from key stakeholders involved in the system.

    Preliminary results from the analysis show that estimated 3200 to 4400 t/yr of plastic waste is collected in Norway from derelict FGs out of which around 70% is sorted for further recycling. Additionally, commercial fishing in Norway contributes to an estimated 130 to 480 t/yr of plastics as ALDFG in the ocean. Gillnets, longlines, and traps are the main contributors to ALDFG in the ocean as these gear types are more susceptible to get lost due to gear design, practice and ground deployment.  The MFA approach shows significant potential as a holistic decision support tool for industry and policy-makers in exercising sustainable fishing gear resource management.  The study also helps understand the extent of the problem on a regional level, identify end-of-life scenarios of gear types, target critical processes and evaluate available mitigation mechanisms.  The model will be further developed to track plastic and metal fractions embodied in the gear to understand and assess the potential for closing the material loop from fishing gear resources in Norway.

  • 15:45 Reduction of marine waste from fisheries: Dialogue with and education of fishers
    Authors: Bjørn Vidar Vangelsten ( Nordland Research Institute ); Julia Olsen ( Nordland Research Institute ); Marthe Larsen Haarr ( SALT Lofoten ); Anne Katrine Normann ( NORUT - Northern Research Institute ); Anne Dupont Andersen ( SALT Lofoten ); Elizabeth Sanli ( Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University of Newfoundland ); Ingrid Bay-Larsen ( Nordland Research Institute )

    In the Barents area, fisheries contribute a high portion of the marine litter that threatens marine life, and ultimately the provision of clean and healthy seafood. The RE-D-USE-project (New knowledge for reduction and utilization of marine waste from fisheries) is working with fishers to identify causes and solutions related to marine waste from fisheries and is developing and testing an educational program for fishers to reduce waste and gear loss. The project also investigates the potential for circular economy ventures based on marine waste as a resource.

    Fishers from Northern-Norway have been interviewed to improve knowledge on fishers’ attitudes toward marine litter, waste management and how to reduce marine litter. Both coastal fishers and fishers from ocean-going vessels (size varying from 35-230 feet) have been interviewed. They emphasize that attitudes towards the problem have changed in recent years. Whereas most of the waste ended up in the sea some decades ago, more is now brought to port, although some waste still ends up in the ocean. Waste management on board varies with the size of the vessel and is linked to the quality of the waste management facilities in harbours and fish landing facilities. Easy-to-use and reasonably priced waste facilities in harbour is key to encourage proper waste management onboard. There is a need to standardize waste management facilities, so fishers will use less time for waste delivery.

    The interviews have been supplemented with a survey distributed to members of Norwegian fishers unions asking them about their knowledge of and attitude towards marine littering. The majority of the fishers are of the opinion that harbour facilities in general are inadequate to dispose litter that they catch in their fishing gear. Hence, there is much to be desired to optimize incentives for fishers to bring ashore own waste and marine litter.

    Data from the dialogue with the fishers have been used to develop and improve the educational component of the RE-D-USE project. An hour long marine litter education module to be included in the mandatory safety training for fishers has been developed. The data from the survey was analyzed using the Theory of Planned Behavior framework, and key knowledge gaps and problematic attitudes among fishermen were identified to develop the module which consists of both a theoretical and a practical component.

    Acknowledgment: The RE-D-USE project is funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment through the Arktis 2030 programme.

  • 16:00 Legal frameworks targeting marine pollution vs practical waste management infrastructure and fishers' knowledge and attitudes towards marine littering in Norway and Russia (Barents Sea)
    Authors: Ingvild Ulrikke Jakobsen ( UiT The Arctic University of Norway ); Linda Finska ( UiT The Arctic University of Norway ); Ludmila Ivanova ( Kola Science Centre ); Heidi Rapp Nilsen ( Norut Northern Research Institute ); Anne Katrine Normann ( Norut Northern Research Institute )

    The MARP project (Marine Plastic Pollution in the Arctic) includes an interdisciplinary research effort to identify gaps in the legal framework and management practices in regulating marine pollution. The paradoxical situation is that while the fishing industry depends on a sustainable, unpolluted ocean, the very same fishing industry is a large marine polluter.

    The paper synthesizes knowledge on incentives and regulations governing marine debris. We describe Norwegian and Russian current legal frameworks targeting marine pollution, management regulations and practice, policy, fisher behavior, accounting for fishery specific factors like fleet structure, vessel size, fishing gear and fishing area.

    This is seen in relation to waste management facilities in Norwegian and Russian ports. Results from the MARP project’s comprehensive survey among Norwegian and Russian fishers, sourcing information about fishers’ knowledge about regulations, perceived own responsibility, attitudes and practice towards pollution and waste management. Are fishers aware of and do they comply with regulations? Are they encouraged by convenient waste management infrastructure?

    The backdrop is international legal instruments targeting marine pollution, including the UN Convention for the Law of the Sea of 1982. UNCLOS Articles 210 on dumping from vessels, 211 on vessel source pollution, and 207 on land based pollution are of relevance for marine pollution prevention. The MARPOL Convention has a general ban on discharges of garbage from vessels. Norwegian legislation has implemented the EU port reception facilities (PRF) directive for ship-generated waste and cargo residues into its national legislation. Port operators are obliged to have plans for waste reception and handling. This is compared to Russian legislation and practice. In 2010, the European Maritime Safety Agency discovered that many Norwegian ports failed to have developed port waste management plans, whereby all ports were required to produce such plans. Still, in 2016, Norway received a judgment from the EFTA-court which again confirmed that Norway had failed to implement the PRF-Directive.

    Though legislations in Norway and Russia are clear on responsibilities for both fishing industry and port operators, waste management facilities in ports are inadequate, a finding supported by the survey. There are substantial shortcomings in fishers’ and port operators’ compliance with regulations, which need to be enhanced. Enforcement of regulations remains the main challenge.

    Acknowledgement: The MARP project is funded by the Research Council of Norway’s Polar Research Programme

  • 16:15 Minimising plastic use and waste in polar research and logistics
    Authors: Joseph Nolan ( European Polar Board ); Renuka Badhe ( European Polar Board ); Kirsi Latola ( Thule Institute, University of Oulu )

    Plastic pollution is a global issue causing a range of adverse impacts on environments and ecosystems at various scales, which are increasingly being understood. While, in a global context, the contribution to plastic pollution from the polar research and logistics communities may be relatively small, these communities none the less have a responsibility to minimise the negative impacts of their activities, particularly in fragile and sensitive Arctic and Antarctic environments.

    The European Polar Board (EPB) has launched an initiative to help its Members by providing practical guidelines on minimising plastic use and waste in polar research and logistics. This includes help with easily identifying the quantities and types of plastics used in polar research and logistics, and ways in which to minimise this plastic use and waste. These guidelines will be useful to researchers and managers at all scales, from individuals conducting small-scale field campaigns, to logistics managers of national polar research programmes. Guidelines will address plastic use in all areas of polar research and logistics, including transport and packaging, scientific equipment and consumables, field equipment, and domestic uses at stations and on vessels. The EPB initiative recognises the great challenge to reduce current plastic use in polar research and logistics, and acknowledges that plastics can be necessary, beneficial, unavoidable, and currently without viable alternatives in polar research and logistics activities. Furthermore, it is noted that efforts to reduce plastic use and waste will not compromise research quality or operations in the polar regions.

    The EPB initiative was launched in June 2018 with a workshop for EPB Members and logistics managers at the POLAR2018 conference in Davos, Switzerland. The initiative is being developed in cooperation with ongoing scientific activities investigating the impacts of plastic pollution on polar environments and ecosystems, including the recently formed Plastic Action Group of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR). Contributions to the EPB initiative are to be further developed during a session with a broader scope at the 2018 Arctic Circle Assembly in Reykjavík, Iceland, titled ‘Minimising the footprint of Arctic research’, co-convened with INTERACT.

    This presentation will outline the priorities and outcomes that have emerged from the EPB initiative to minimise plastic use and waste in polar research and logistics to date.

Science Science

Thursday 24th January 2019

15:00 - 16:30

Clarion Hotel The Edge - Margarinfabrikken 1

Add to Calendar 2019-01-24 15:00 2019-01-24 16:30 Europe/Oslo Plastics in the Ocean - Waste management and sustainability Clarion Hotel The Edge - Margarinfabrikken 1

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