Plastic pollution has become one of the biggest global environmental problems and is a threat to arctic ecosystems. A new research program in the Fram Centre will establish and disseminate knowledge about the extent, distribution and transport of plastic contamination to the High North, and explore how it affects Arctic ecosystems on land, sea ice and in the ocean.
Through an interdisciplinary research program dedicated to the plastics problem, «Plastic in the Arctic» will map plastic and microplastic distribution in the Arctic and generate new knowledge about the environmental impacts of plastic. The results will contribute to research-based measures to reduce the negative effects of plastics on ecosystem services, human health and business development.
Plastic pollution is a major environmental problem across all ecosystems and for society in general. The special environmental conditions in the Arctic and the importance of intact natural resources for major Norwegian economies, such as fisheries, aquaculture and tourism, bring about the need for targeted research on plastic in the Arctic.
The Fram Centre has an extensive interdisciplinary expertise and has been involved in research cooperation studying plastic in the Arctic for several years. This knowledge will now be consolidated in a dedicated program. In addition, there is strong competence in a number of relevant scientific fields within the natural and social sciences, such as oceanography, modelling, chemistry, biology, ecotoxicology, psychology, economics, and law.
Plastic pollution is a global problem and measures to reduce plastic emissions require international cooperation and new solutions that can lead to a sustainable circular economy. Participants from various institutions in the Fram Centre are well integrated into international research networks and collaborate with researchers from Nordic and European countries and even further afield. In addition, Norway has a prominent role in the international discussion about suitable measures and regulations to combat plastic emissions in a global context.
A scientific plan will be launched in October 2018.