Frozen Plastic - Plastic litter in the Arctic environment: what do we need to know?

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. 

Like greenhouse gas emissions and persistent organic pollutants, plastics represent a third wave of pollution endangering the Arctic. Plastics are mostly produced, used and discarded far from the northern regions, but plastic pollution has become visible also in the remote Arctic. While we do not know how much makes its way north, there are local sources too.

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 different 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.

A growing 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. This urgency has set off a series of 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 sensible mitigation strategies, which take into account 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, Grid-Arendal

Confirmed speakers

  • Ola Elvestuen, Minister of Climate and Environment of Norway
  • Jan Dusik, Principal Adviser for Strategic Engagement for the Arctic and Antarctic at UN Environment
  • Karoline Andaur, Deputy CEO WWF-Norway
  • Jenna Jambeck, Associate Professor of Environmental Engineering, University of Georgia
  • Geir Wing Gabrielsen, senior scientist, Norwegian Polar Institute
  • Fridtjof F. Unander, Executive Director of Division for Energy, Resources and the Environment, The Research Council of Norway
  • Otto Gregussen, General Secretary of Norwegian Fishermen’s Association

Organised by Akvaplan-niva, NILU, NIVA and Grid-Arendal

For more information about this side event contact Tina Schoolmeester, Project manager, GRID-Arendal, Tina.Schoolmeester@grida.no

Sponsored by the Fram Centre

Arena Arena

Monday 22nd January 2018

17:00 - 18:30

Radisson Blu Hotel - Møterom 315

Add to Calendar 2018-01-22 17:00 2018-01-22 18:30 Europe/Oslo Frozen Plastic - Plastic litter in the Arctic environment: what do we need to know? 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.  Like greenhouse gas emissions and persistent organic pollutants, plastics represent a third wave of pollution endangering the Arctic. Plastics are mostly produced, used and discarded far from the northern regions, but plastic pollution has become visible also in the remote Arctic. While we do not know how much makes its way north, there are local sources too. 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 different 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. A growing 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. This urgency has set off a series of 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 sensible mitigation strategies, which take into account 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, Grid-Arendal Confirmed speakers Ola Elvestuen, Minister of Climate and Environment of Norway Jan Dusik, Principal Adviser for Strategic Engagement for the Arctic and Antarctic at UN Environment Karoline Andaur, Deputy CEO WWF-Norway Jenna Jambeck, Associate Professor of Environmental Engineering, University of Georgia Geir Wing Gabrielsen, senior scientist, Norwegian Polar Institute Fridtjof F. Unander, Executive Director of Division for Energy, Resources and the Environment, The Research Council of Norway Otto Gregussen, General Secretary of Norwegian Fishermen’s Association Organised by Akvaplan-niva, NILU, NIVA and Grid-Arendal For more information about this side event contact Tina Schoolmeester, Project manager, GRID-Arendal, Tina.Schoolmeester@grida.no Sponsored by the Fram Centre Radisson Blu Hotel - Møterom 315

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