Plastic makes up the largest quantity of the non-biodegradable material on earth and is a huge environmental concern. It can travel over huge distances from its origin, and accumulate in remote places such as the Poles, a crucial area for the balance of our planet's sustainable future. Last summer Polarquest2018 carried out a record breaking microplastic sampling on the edge of the iceshelf at 82N07'E in the Arctic from a sailboat. This year we are analysing the data and working on solutions.
Microplastics (plastic smaller than 5 millimeters) is an emerging pollutant threatening species at the base of our food chain, from zooplankton up to fish and marine mammals. It affects their feeding behavior and moves from the digestive tract into the bloodstream. Its presence has been reported as far as the Arctic Ocean. In spite of this threat, there are no regulations on microplastics, an urgent need to assess its pollution and lack of awareness worldwide of the gravity of the threat.
In summer 2018Polarquest explorers and researchers sailed to the Svalbard archipelago on Nanuq, a 60-foot sailboat designed to sail in polar regions, and were the first to sample microplastic at the edge of the Noprt Pole iceshelf. We are sharing our experience with the public through educational events, a photo exhibition and a TV documentary, while scientists are analysing samples. We have are looking for and supporting tangible solutions to replace daily plastic objects with bio-degradables
Our findings will contribute to assess the impact of microplastic on the the marine foodchain and life on the planet. Creating awareness athrough our communication and educational products featuring the unique expedition and disseminating the new scientific results far is a powerful way for making make the Global Goals for sustainable development a reality. We are also supporting new biodegradable daily use objects such as the biostraw microproject, to foster change in our wrong habits.
This project has provided additional documentation in a PDF file (projdoc.pdf).