Investment Portal of the Arctic Zone of the Russian Federation

Issue of Microplastics in the Arctic to Be Solved at Macro Level Only

A conference on waste and microplastics in the Arctic was held at the Northern (Arctic) Federal University in Arkhangelsk on 20 July 2022. The event within the framework of Russia's chairmanship in the Arctic Council was organized by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology of Russia jointly with the Roscongress Foundation.

20 July 2022

Nikolay Doronin, Chairman of the Management Board of the Arctic Development Project Office, spoke about the research into the issue of microplastics and also mentioned the Put Plastic to Work educational project. The website of the Arctic Development Project Office reported on the event.

'The population of Western and Northern Europe tallies about 300 million people, while only 35 million live in the Russian Arctic Zone and Siberia. That means plastic garbage mostly ends up being 'exported' to our Northern seas,' the expert said.

According to Doronin, microplastics are found everywhere, but their movement along the food chain has not yet been sufficiently studied. He noted that systemic measures are required to fix the situation, which calls for constant monitoring and serious research with a unified approach to measuring indicators implemented across the Arctic countries. Microplastics are difficult to extrwact from suspended organic matter; research on vast areas and at extreme depths is also hard to carry out.

'We need a unified protocol for studying the content of microplastics in seawater. It is no less important to improve environmental education, as the issue of microplastics can only be solved at the macro level,' Doronin stated.

Ruslan Gubaydullin, head of the Clean Arctic Federal project, said that up to 40% of coastal plastic waste in the Arctic comprises recyclable and tentatively recyclable polymer fractions. He also spoke about research carried out jointly with scientists of the MSU Department of Biology in the Barents and White Seas to identify pollution sources. 47% of the items found on the Barents Sea coast and in the White Sea Funnel whose origin has been identified were produced in Russia, with a further 23% coming from Norway and the remaining 30%, from other European countries, Gubaydullin said.

Aleksandr Zakondyrin, Chairman of the Public Council under the Ministry of Natural Resources of Russia, who moderated the plenary discussion, noted that the issue of waste in the Russian Arctic Zone is an extremely urgent one, since significant environmental damage has accumulated over decades. Thanks to the Ecology national project, the situation has finally moved forward, Zakondyrin believes.

The event was attended by over a hundred experts, including heads of relevant research and expert organisations, as well as representatives of federal and regional agencies.


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