Friday 22. March 2019

Beach Debris Research Field Trip

University Centre Coastal and Marine Management students conducted beach debris research near Hólmavík in the Pollution in the Coastal Arctic course, taught by Pernilla Carlsson from NIVA in Norway. Hólmavík is in the Strandir region of Iceland, which is a hotspot for beach debris because of the ocean currents that channel debris to this area, providing a good chance for the students to research the amount and types of debris.

With the help of the University of Iceland Research Centre at Strandir and the Sheep Farming Museum and Café that provided warm soup, the students collected 17 kilograms of debris from 800 meters of beach.Bits and pieces from fishing gear were common in the student’s findings along the beaches. But, they also found a half-full bottle of Listerine, 1 shoe, a piece of a salad plant and a 10 L “bottle” of an unidentified, unlabelled petroleum product. Items were counted and categorized, and preliminary results show that 98% of the items were plastic (unidentifiable plastic pieces, bottles, fishing ropes and nets, styrofoam) while the remaining 2% included glass, metal, and wood.

Projects like this are important in identifying the sources of debris which then aids in creating solutions that target the sources of ocean pollution.

The group of students collected debris from 800 meters of beach.
The group of students collected debris from 800 meters of beach.
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