Plastics in the Ocean - Politics and economy


  • 15:00 How the tourism industry can help fight against marine litter
    Authors: Sarah Auffret ( AECO )

    Sarah Auffret, Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators, Environmental Agent

    The Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO) is an international association for expedition cruise operators in the Arctic and others who support our vision of responsible, environmentally friendly and safe tourism in the Arctic. AECO has signed a memorandum of understanding with the United Nations Environment Programme and is contributing to the UN-led campaign Clean Seas to combat marine plastic pollution. The shipborne expedition tourism industry has an opportunity to be a leader in the fight against marine litter. With over 25,000 international passengers travelling to the Arctic each year, we have a great opportunity for direct outreach.

    We are working to drastically cut back on single-use plastics on Arctic expedition cruise vessels. Our members are rethinking their facilities and adapting their products. Installing water and soap dispensers, removing single-use items, requiring products to come in different packaging are various ways our members are reducing their plastic footprint.

    AECO members have organised cleanups along the shores of Svalbard for over 15 years. As part of its Clean Seas campaign, AECO has enhanced its contribution to Clean up Svalbard by reporting dates, locations and some information on the nature of marine litter picked up. In 2018, 127 cleanup actions were reported and over 4,000Kg were picked up. This information gathered onboard can be used by scientists and policy makers to tackle waste at its source.

    We are also focusing on educating passengers, ship crew and the public on what can be done to reduce single-use plastic consumption and prevent marine plastic pollution. To that effect, we are developing educational material such as guidelines and online outreach, as well as onboard lectures. AECO’s Clean Seas campaign aims to share best practices and successes that can be replicated elsewhere.

    By reducing single-use plastic consumption, facilitating first-hand experiences of the extent of the marine litter problem in the Arctic and educating on its consequences, the shipborne expedition cruise industry is keen to demonstrate how industry can be driving forces in the fight against marine litter. Our set of best practices strive to be applicable to other industries as well as individuals so our work will benefit a wider audience.


  • 15:15 Troubled Waters - Where is the bridge? Confronting marine Plastic Pollution from International Watercourses
    Authors: Linda Finska ( K. G. Jebsen Centre for the Law of the Sea/UiT ); Julie Gjortz Howden ( University of Bergen )

    Note: The abstract is from an article we wrote with Julie Gjortz Howden, and which will be published in the Review of Comparative, International & European Environmental Law in its special issue of plastics in November 2018, and I would like to present the article and our findings at the Arctic Fronties.

    A considerable volume of marine plastic pollution derives from watercourses, and many of the world’s largest, and most heavily polluted, watercourses are international. In spite of the clear factual link between the utilization and protection of international watercourses and marine plastic pollution there is hardly any interaction between the legal sub-disciplines of international water law and marine environmental law. Such lack of interaction also reflects the absence of a global treaty, or even a shared global understanding, of the environmental threat from plastic pollution and the universal responsibility this generates also for land-locked States. This article investigates the possibilities for more integrated measures to prevent pollution of international watercourses and oceans, and argues that regimes within international water law and marine environmental law must cooperate to create awareness of the plastic pollution risk from watercourses and take steps to harmonize their legal rules and policies in order to contribute to control and mitigation of marine plastic pollution. Regional coordination, such as improved cooperation between the regional seas organizations and river basin organizations, could provide a tool to better address transboundary sources of plastic. Potentially, such developments could be adopted to control marine plastic pollution from the most heavily polluted international watercourses.


  • 15:30 Arctic Commercial Fishers: a Norwegian-Russian case study of fishers' experiences and perceptions of marine litter
    Authors: Jannike Falk-Andersson ( SALT ); Kayleigh Wyles ( University of Surrey ); Heidi Nilsen ( Norut Northern Research Institute ); Ludmila Ivanova ( Kola Science Centre ); Anne Katrine Normann ( Norut Northern Research Institute )

    High levels of marine plastic pollution have been found in the Barents Sea. The high fishing activity in the region has been identified as one of the main sources of this pollution. A survey was therefore distributed to fishers in Norway and Russia that operate in the region, in order to get a better understanding of what type of management efforts could be implemented to reduce littering in the region. In total, 126 Norwegian and 32 Russian fishers responded to a questionnaire survey. Both Norwegian and Russian fishers reported of losses of fisheries related items. Russian fishers had higher losses of household related items, than Norwegian fishers. There were also reports of intentional dumping of both household products, as well as fisheries related items. Few reported that it is difficult to handle, sort and store waste on-board. Norwegian fishers seemed to be more informed about the negative impact of marine littering, while the Russian respondents were more neutral to these statements. Many of the Norwegian fishers reported that it is too costly to deliver waste in the harbours and point to a lack of waste management facilities in Norwegian harbours. The Norwegian fishers are concerned about the reputational risk of plastics to the fishing industry, while only half the Russian respondents had the same concern.

  • 15:45 An issue buried under the ice? National survey examining people's perceptions to marine plastic waste in the Arctic and its influence on their plastic behaviour
    Authors: Kayleigh Wyles ( University of Surrey ); Tenaw G. Abate ( Norut ); Tobias Borger ( University of St Andrews ); Margrethe Aanesen ( Norges Arktiske Universitet ); Nicola Beaumont ( Plymouth Marine Laboratory ); Jannike Falk-Anderss ( SALT )

    Marine plastic waste is an ongoing environmental, and societal, issue. It has been found in all oceans, from the polls to the equator, from the beaches to the deep sea. The consequences are also widespread, with a vast amount of evidence demonstrating the lethal and sub-lethal effects on the environment and wildlife, as well as impacts on human society. Whilst the extent of the problem is widely recognised in science and beyond, the underlying cause(s) and ultimate solutions are, in comparison, considerably overlooked.

    Unlike other environmental issues, marine plastic waste is 100% caused by humans. Humans produce, design & manufacture, use, and dispose of plastic. At each of these stages, plastic can leak into the natural environment to become plastic waste. Fortunately, as well as being the cause of the problem, humans also have the power to be the solution. This paper examines people’s reactions and perceptions to marine plastic waste in the Arctic, and explores what drives their behaviour to help combat it (or alternatively, continue to contribute to the problem). Previous studies have found that people are generally aware of the problem and are concerned about plastic waste (i.e. in the UK and USA), but it is not known: 1) are they similarly aware and concerned of the problem facing the Arctic, an environment often perceived as being pristine; 2) is this awareness and concern important for their behaviours that can influence Arctic marine plastic waste, and if not, 3) what are the main drivers of their behaviour (using a behaviour sciences framework)?

    In the summer of 2018, a nationally representative sample of Norwegian residents (n ≈ 1800) completed an online questionnaire that examined their understanding of marine plastic waste more generally, and in the Arctic specifically, as well as examining a number of behavioural determinants to help identify what elements best predict individual behaviour (i.e. their connection to the Arctic, attitudes towards the problem and perceived social acceptance of certain behaviours). This analysis will therefore further advance the social science literature as well as have implications for action groups by demonstrating if the Arctic is seen as different to other environments and thus should be emphasised, and which factors are most important at addressing if aiming to encourage behaviours that can help combat this increasing problem.

  • 16:00 Perceptions of marine ecosystem services in the arctic and the impact of marine plastic litter
    Authors: Elizabeth Gabe-Thomas ( Plymouth Marine Laboratory ); Kayleigh Wyles ( University of Surrey ); Nicola Beaumont ( Plymouth Marine Laboratory )

    Although remote ecosystems such as the coast and seas around Svalbard are traditionally perceived as unspoilt environments, recent research has shown that marine plastic litter is adversely affecting these ecosystems and the services they provide. Here we present the results of a survey that aimed to explore public perceptions of marine ecosystem services in Svalbard and the risks that marine plastic litter poses to these services.

    Gaining an understanding of how humans perceive the services provided by an ecosystem is an important factor in its effective management. Perceptions of the benefits that an ecosystem can provide to humans can affect public support for ecosystem management and behavioural intentions towards marine conservation. Furthermore, the extent to which perceptions of ecosystem services influence such attitudes can differ by type of service.

    Perceptions of the extent to which ecosystem services are threatened by marine plastic pollution are likely to influence attitudes towards ecosystem conservation and associated behaviour. Individuals who perceive environmental risks to be high are more likely to take steps to mitigate the risks such as personal action or support for policy. Risk perception is often considered a necessary but not sufficient factor in management support and environmental action and personal factors such as human value orientations are strong predictors of environmental attitudes and behaviours. Furthermore, it has been demonstrated that tailoring communication about environmental risks to individuals’ value orientations can increase their efficacy.

    By integrating environmental psychology with ecosystem approaches, the present study examines the extent to which marine ecosystems in Svalbard are perceived to offer specific services and the extent to which these services are perceived to be at risk from plastic litter in the marine environment. Personal factors, such as value orientations and place attachment were measured alongside intentions to engage in behaviours that reduce plastic pollution in the ocean.

    The results provide insight into the extent to which different service types are perceived to be offered by the marine environment in Svalbard across different populations. In addition, the results demonstrate which services may be more influential in encouraging plastic reduction behaviour and support for measures that reduce plastic pollution and which services may be more influential for individuals with different value orientations. As such the findings have implications for policy and effective communication about plastic litter in the Arctic.

  • 16:15 Global Ecological, Social and Economic Impacts of Marine Plastic
    Authors: Nicola Beaumont ( Plymouth Marine Lab ); Penelope Lindeque ( Plymouth Marine Lab ); Matt Cole ( Plymouth Marine Lab ); Tara Hooper ( Plymouth Marine Lab ); Christine Pascoe ( Plymouth Marine Lab ); Mel Austen ( Plymouth Marine Lab ); Kayleigh Wyles ( University of Surrey ); Tobias Borger ( St Andrews University ); Margrethe Aanesen ( Uit )

    This research takes a holistic approach to considering the consequences of marine plastic pollution. A semi-systematic literature review of 1191 data points provides the basis to determine the global ecological, social and economic impacts. An ecosystem impact analysis demonstrates that there is global evidence of impact with medium to high frequency on all subjects, with a medium to high degree of irreversibility. A novel translation of these ecological impacts into ecosystem service impacts provides evidence that all ecosystem services are impacted to some extent by the presence of marine plastic, with a reduction in provision predicted for the majority. This reduction in ecosystem service provision is evidenced to have implications for human health and wellbeing, linked particularly to fisheries, heritage and charismatic species, and recreation.

  • 16:30 The Value of reducing Marine Plastic Pollution in the Arctic
    Authors: Tenaw G. Abate ( Norut ); Tobias Borger ( University of St. Andrews ); Margrethe Aanesen ( University of Tromsø ); Jannike Falk-Andersson ( SALT ); Kayleigh Wyles ( University of Surrey ); Nicola Beaumont ( Plymouth Marine Laboratory )

    Marine plastic pollution has increasingly become a significant global environmental problem. It has also affected the remote and unique ecosystems of the Arctic. Marine plastics are found on the shorelines around Svalbard, in the water column and on the ocean floor, as well as in the ice.  Organisms have been observed to be entangled in nets and seabirds, particularly the norther fulmars, are significantly affected by ingestion of plastic pieces. Little is known about the impact of plastic pollution on ecosystem services and associated values they provide to society. Monetizing the values of ecosystem services provide a tool for decision makers to evaluate and compare management policies. This study employs the contingent valuation method (CVM) for eliciting the willing to pay (WTP) of Norwegian households for reducing marine plastic pollution around the archipelago of Svalbard. Furthermore, the paper analyzes the determinants of people's WTP for preserving the unique ecosystems of the Arctic using structural equation modelling (SEM). We find an average WTP for an initiative to reduce marine plastic pollution in the range of USD 575-796 per household per year. The SEM estimation results reveal that people who are relatively more aware about and care for the impacts of marine plastic pollution, as well as who perceive that the proposed initiative will be effective, are willing to pay more. Moreover, respondents who hold a relatively strong global outlook, i.e. those who feel a strong sense of belongingness to the whole world, are willing to pay more.

Science Science

Wednesday 23rd January 2019

15:00 - 16:45

Clarion Hotel The Edge - Margarinfabrikken 1

Add to Calendar 2019-01-23 15:00 2019-01-23 16:45 Europe/Oslo Plastics in the Ocean - Politics and economy Clarion Hotel The Edge - Margarinfabrikken 1

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