Melanie Bergmann, Birgit Lutz, Mine B. Tekman, Lars Gutow,
Citizen scientists reveal:
Marine litter pollutes Arctic beaches and affects wild life,
Marine Pollution Bulletin,
Available online 28 September 2017, ISSN 0025-326X
Recent data indicate accumulation areas of marine litter in Arctic waters and significant increases over time. Beaches on remote Arctic
islands may be sinks for marine litter and reflect pollution levels ofthe surrounding waters particularly well.
We provide the first quantitative data from surveys carried out by citizen scientists on six beaches of Svalbard.
Litter quantities recorded by cruise touristsvaried from 9–524 g m− 2 and were similar to those from denselypopulated areas.
Plastics accounted for > 80% of the overall litter, most of which originated from fisheries. Photographs provided by
citizens show deleterious effects of beach litter on Arctic wildlife, which is already under strong pressure from global climate change. Our
study highlights the potential of citizen scientists to provide scientifically valuable data on the pollution of sensitive remote
The results stress once more that current legislative frameworks are insufficient to tackle the pollution of Arctic ecosystems.