Welcome to Arctic Daily!

A daily glimpse of my time in Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard as Logistics Engineer for the AWIPEV polar research station.

Plastic, plastic, plastic...

Plastic, plastic, plastic...

Today I'm going to tell you a sad story.

Now if you come here from time to time I'm guessing you appreciate the pictures of these wild places in Svalbard, where nobody lives or has ever lived before. Indeed I live in a rather inhospitable place, but this is certainly what makes it beautiful. Glaciers thousands of years old calving into the sea, rare wild animals right in our backyard, icebergs icebergs nonchalantly parading in front of our windows... In addition to this, the remoteness of the archipelago makes it look completely separated from civilization on the mainland.

However, in addition to global warming being especially noticeable here of all places, when we walk anywhere along the coast, we are quickly reminded that civilization is right here around us too. And the most visible effect is the incredible amount of plastic that washes up on the coast here. It's no isolated phenomenon, what you see in the picture I picked yesterday on Ebeltoftodden (79°08.900'N, 11°36.084'E) along a stretch of coast barely 100 meters long.

I too am appalled when I these those famous pictures of birds and sea turtles ingesting plastic, but now I could take one like this one every day. There is just gigantic amounts of plastic washing up here: fishing nets, food packaging containers, freight packing sheets, mooring buoys, toys, anything made of plastic can be found here.

 

Histoire triste aujourd'hui.

Voilà ce que j'ai ramassé hier en même pas 15 minutes le long de 100m de côte (à Ebeltoftodden : 79°08.900'N, 11°36.084'E). L'impression souvent dégagée par le Svalbard est celle de virginité absolue, d'une inhospitalité telle que rien de ce que nous créons n'arrive jusqu'ici. Détrompez vous, il n'y a pas que les tortues et les albatros qui se remplissent de plastique.

Les côtes ici en sont jonchées, de manière systématique. Filets de pêche et bouées, emballages alimentaires et de grande consommation, packaging en tous genres, jouets... Tout y est, au pied des glaciers, des montagnes enneigées, au milieu des ours, morses et autres phoques, là exactement ou des milliers d'oiseaux migrateurs viennent chaque année nicher.

Corbel station in all its glory

Corbel station in all its glory

Morning tea at Corbel Station

Morning tea at Corbel Station