A message from the Arctic
In 2018 I helped organise and undertake a pioneering student-led research expedition to the icy archipelago of Svalbard in the Arctic circle. The aim of our Sail Against Plastic expedition was to highlight the hidden and growing threat of plastic pollution in this far-flung and seemingly 'pristine' environment.
Reports published in 2017 revealed how areas in eastern Greenland, Svalbard and the Arctic Ocean were becoming a 'dumping ground' for plastics and other marine litter, carried on ocean currents from northern Europe and further afield before accumulating on remote beaches, fjords and arctic seas; out of sight, out of mind. We wanted to throw a spotlight on this issue, and investigate whether this waste was accumulating as micro plastic pollution in the waters around Svalbard.
Bringing together 25 scientists, sailors, photographers, artists, film-makers and campaigners, we spent two weeks aboard the tallship Blue Clipper trawling for microplastics in the Arctic waters, surveying the open sea for large floating plastics, testing the air for microplastic fibres and conducting beach cleans when we were able to make landfall.
By bringing together such a varied crew under one sail (excuse the pun), our hope was to combine the team's skills to bring the message about what is happening to the Arctic to a wider audience back home. Through this expedition and its poignant message, we hoped to create a legacy with a long-lasting, meaningful impact that goes above and beyond publishing scientific papers about such issues.
Please find out more about the trip by exploring the gallery below, which documents some of our findings and the spectacular wildlife this fragile region of Earth contains. Please also head over to our expedition website for more information: www.sailagainstplastic.com
Short film (Mari Huws) - Arctig: Mor o Plastic?
Full length documentary - Sail Against Plastic: a message from the Arctic