13/9/2019

PAME releases first "Plastic in a Bottle"

  • Umhverfisráðherra með flöskuskeyti © Landhelgisgæslan

Icelands's Minister for the Evironment and Natural Resources, Guðmundur I. Guðbrandsson, dropped a bottle into the Artic yesterday. PAME (The Arctic Council's Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment) teamed up with the minister, Verkís and the Icelandic Coast Guard, aiming to simulate how marine litter and plastics travel far distances into and out of Artic waters. The bottle is designed and constructed by Verkís. 

The bottle is the first one of a few bottles PAME aimes to drop in different areas across the Arctic. The bottle is equipped with a satellite transmitter that provides its location every twelve hours via a GPS receiver, enabling viewers to observe the journey of the bottle. The collected data will feed into a regional action plan on marine litter and serve as an outreach tool to create awareness around the growing concerns on marine litter in the Arctic. 

Iceland currently holds the Chairmanship of the Arctic Council until 2021 and places a special focus on marine litter and plastics in the Arctic. The saying “out of sight, out of mind” does not apply to litter that has made their way into the ocean. Currents, streams, waves and wind carry marine litter across the seas. Neither the deep sea nor beaches in the Arctic are exempt from this pollution. However, when it comes to how plastics travel into and out of Arctic waters, our knowledge on the trajectories of this marine litter remains limited. With this capsule PAME is seeking to gain valuable information to better understand this problem.

IMG_2522-FlothylkiGeorg Kr Lárusson, director of the Icelandic Coast Guard, welcomes the Icelands's Minister for the Evironment and Natural Resources, Guðmundur I. Guðbrandsson to the vessel Thor. 

Icelandic Coast Guard vessel Thor

Tackling the issue of marine litter and especially plastics in the Arctic is one of the Arctic Council's priorities during Iceland's Chairmanship. At the end of its Chairmanship in May 2021, Iceland plans to provide a comprehensive regional action plan on marine litter and plastics in the Arctic to the Ministers of the Arctic Council.

Verkís has been involved in similar projects in the past and has seen its bottles travel thousands of miles across the Atlantic Ocean for well over a year – reaching Norway, Scotland and the Faroe Islands after being released from Iceland. Arnór Þór Sigfússon, animal ecologist, Ármann E. Lund, mechanical engineer B.Sc. og Vigfús Arnar Jósefsson, mechanical engineer designed and constructed the bottle of behalf of Verkís.

Once washed ashore, a message inside the bottle will instruct the finder what to do with the bottle.

#PlasticInABottle

PAME website