Ob and Yenisei are the main carriers of plastic waste in the Arctic

Scientists also found timber from marine fishing, shipping and oil and gas production in the four seas of the Russian Arctic shelf.

A group of scientists from Russian universities and research institutes completed the world's first analysis of human waste in the four seas of the Russian Arctic shelf. According to the studies at the bottom of the Kara and Chukchi Seas there is a lot of plastic waste, which was brought by the Siberian rivers Yenisei and Ob, as well as timber from marine industry, shipping and oil and gas production, the press service of the Tomsk State University (TSU), one of the project participants, told TASS.

“Until recent times, the main water area of the Arctic basin (the Arctic Ocean) was not studied for the presence of marine debris. During the Soviet period, there were a few expeditions throughout the Arctic, but at that time the problem of littering of water areas was not of utmost importance, people were focused on other aspects. In fact, our transarctic expedition is the first in which an attempt was made to estimate the amount of garbage on the bottom of the four seas of the Arctic Ocean - the Chukchi, East Siberian, Kara and Laptev seas," said Alexei Orlov, the employee of the Institute of Oceanology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, VNIRO and the Biological Institute of TSU.

During trawl studies of anthropogenic (through human fault) pollution of the seas in the water column and at the bottom, they found various wastes, most often plastic. According to the conclusions of scientists, the main sources were the removal of household waste by large rivers - the Ob and Yenisei, on which Siberian cities are located, and waste from marine activities such as fishing, offshore exploration and production of oil and gas, as well as shipping and coastal tourism.

During the expedition, they performed 174 trawls (sampling). The analysis showed that the maximum amount of solid waste was found in the southwestern part of the Kara Sea, where waste was found in 36% of cases. To put this in perspective, in the Chukchi Sea there was less than 4%. Marine debris is mainly represented by household waste - polyethylene films and bags, as well as wood residues. According to the results of the study, the Laptev Sea and the East Siberian Sea are

the cleanest. This is due to the fact that there are no large rivers and settlements and fishing there.


Source: TASS