The amount of garbage, especially plastics, has risen to alarming levels. Also on the high Arctic shores of the Svalbard archipelago, tons of plastic garbage are washed ashore every year. This garbage poses a high risk for the environment. Oceanwide Expeditions, the leading Arctic expedition cruise company, has now completed successfully a unique clean-up cruise on board of M/V Ortelius to battle the garbage threat.

The passengers who had signed up specifically for this trip had been equipped with bags and gloves for the task. © Mick Brown
The passengers who had signed up specifically for this trip had been equipped with bags and gloves for the task. © Mick Brown

Oceanwide Expeditions completed the first “Cleaning the Shores of Svalbard” trip of the Svalbard cruise industry. The trip was an eight-day voyage to the remote northern part of Svalbard dedicated to picking up garbage from the region’s beaches. An estimated 13 m3 of garbage was removed from three beaches in the area of Raudfjorden, the remote Rijpfjorden, and Mushamna in Woodfjorden. Each beach cleaned yielded 4-5 m3 of garbage consisting mainly of plastic of various origins, fishing rope, nets, and floats. The garbage was sorted onboard and with the assistance of Sysselmannen and the Svalbard Environmental Fund, it has now been disposed of in a proper manner.

An estimated 100’000 tons of plastic garbage ends in the Arctic Ocean every year. A substantial part is washed ashore the coast of the Svalbard archipelago and thus threatening the wildlife and environment there. © Alex Chavanne
An estimated 100’000 tons of plastic garbage ends in the Arctic Ocean every year. A substantial part is washed ashore the coast of the Svalbard archipelago and thus threatening the wildlife and environment there. © Alex Chavanne

In recent years, more and more focus has been on the immense quantity of garbage (in particular plastics) that is dumped into the oceans of the World. Although the high Arctic archipelago of Svalbard is very remote, the Gulf Current terminates in this area bringing up untold tons of garbage every year. Oceanwide Expeditions is committed to sustainable tourism and is proud to have supported the effort to make a difference.

The result of the clean up is apparent: no more debris and garbage on the beach, no more threat to wildlife. © Alex Chavanne
The result of the clean up is apparent: no more debris and garbage on the beach, no more threat to wildlife. © Alex Chavanne

On board of the ship M/V Ortelius half of the passengers went out in the morning armed with bags, gloves to clean the beach from all kind of garbage, especially plastics and fishing ropes and nets. The other half of the passengers meanwhile went for an excursion in a different area. After lunch, the roles were reversed. This way, everyone had the same experience of expedition and environmental protection.

Source: Oceanwide Expeditions