MARP: Kick off and open air exhibition

MARP: Kick off and open air exhibition

November 3, 2016
Postdoc

The kick off meeting for the MARP project was held at Svalbard in September, and an open air exhibition in October gave the public a touch and smell of what marine plastic pollution is really about.

The kick off meeting for the MARP project was held at Svalbard from 3rd-6th of September 2016. A total of 22 researchers and experts from Norway, the United Kingdom (UK) and Russia participated in the meeting. The participants comprised of people from both research institutions and industry partners of the project.  

The kick off meeting was officially opened on Sunday the 4th September with a welcome speech by the project leader Dr. Falk-Andersson. Dr. Falk-Andersson also briefly presented the overview of the MARP project, its objectives and what is expected from each working packages (WPs).  

In the afternoon, as a part of one of the WPs, an ecosystem service workshop was conducted. Dr. Borger gave a lecture on the concept of ecosystem services and benefits based on the United Nation’s Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA) framework. In light of the MEA framework, participants discussed on the ecosystem services and benefits around Svalbard. 

Waste workshop

On Monday the 5th of September, a ‘waste workshop’ was carried out. The workshop was organized by SALT, one of the partners in the MARP project. Participants were brought to ‘RenoVest’─a place where marine litter collected by the governor of Svalbard is stored before being shipped to the mainland.

All the participants in general, and experts from fishery and mining in particular, used their knowledge to sort the litter by industry and, if possible, by country of origin. Potential causes for the waste ending up as beach litter were also analyzed. A preliminary assessment shows that the majority of the marine litter around Svalbard comes from activities related to fishing, which is not surprising given that fisheries is the main industrial activity in the area.

It was worth noting that participants were generally overwhelmed by the amount of marine litter collected from the beaches and shores of Svalbard.  

Moreover, as a part of one of the WPs, three focus group discussions were conducted with local residents, students and staffs at UNIS and tourists. The main aim of the discussions was to assess the perceptions and opinions of different group of people about marine litter around Svalbard.

Touch and smell of marine waste 

On 1st of October, a team from the MARP3 project participated in an open air exhibition as a part of the Fritt Fram science days. A full container of marine litter collected on the beaches outside Tromsø was put for display outside Polaria by the team and other scientists at The Fram Centre.

For better understanding, the litter was sorted by origin (such as from fisheries or household consumptions) and by degradability (biodegradable and non-biodegradable). There was also a stand where people could make their own micro-plastics from old trawl nets.

Circular economy

Presentation about the concept of circular economy was also made for the general public, illustrating how people can reduce plastic consumption and thereby contribute to a healthier planet. 

The main aim of the exhibition was to create awareness about marine plastic pollution among the general public. From the feedback and opinions of the exhibition visitors, it was clear that they were all shocked about the amount of waste found in our waters.

The local newspaper also made an article about the plastic exhibition and the MARP project:

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Project web page:
MARine Plastic pollution in the Arctic: origin, status, costs and incentives for Prevention (Polarprog /MARP).