Going to the dogs: Volunteers sought for one-day and weekend trash cleanups in Isfjorden: project funding kennel repairs


For everyone bummed they didn’t win the annual Trash Lottery (also known the governor’s annual cleanup cruise on the north shores of Svalbard this month) consider this an Instant Win consolation prize.

A series of one-day and three-day trips to Isfjorden to clean up beaches there is being offered between July 30 and Sept. 8 on behalf of the Longyearbyen Dog Club, which says it’s planning to use a 100,000 kroner grant from the Svalbard Environmental Protection Fund for the project to repair kennels and other facilities damaged by landslides last fall.

In a way, the cruises – being organized by the outdoor recreation group Aktiv i Friluft Longyearbyen – are a form of recycling the grant money.

“This is sorely needed money because we didn’t get any support from the environmental fund (for the kennels) this year and we can’t continue the work to rebuild the kennels,” wrote Irene Welle, head of the dog club, in a Facebook post announcing the project.

Ocean trash washing up on Svalbard’s shores is an increasingly severe problem, resulting in The Governor of Svalbard hosting an annual cruise to the northernmost part of the archipelago for 24 residents selected from a lottery in which hundreds typically enter. Numerous shorter cleanups by public and private entities – ranging from one by the governor for small children to cruise ships offering it as a shore excursion – have been initiated in recent years.

“Ocean trash will be found and this affects wildlife and the environment,” Welle wrote. “Not least, we know that ropes and nets from the fishing industry end up on many of these beaches, as well as small and large plastic particles, etc. This can cause very serious damage to already vulnerable wildlife in the Arctic, and poses a major risk to animal and bird life in Svalbard.”

There is a minimum of ten participants and a maximum of 70 for each cruise. In addition to length, the cruises will offer adult-only (16 years of age and older) and family trips (five years of age and older, with at least one parent required to accompany children). Two cruises for junior and senior high school students are also being offered.

All cruises will depart in the morning aboard the Polargirl, with the first day cruise scheduled from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Organizers will provide group and individual dry bags, as well as a cookout fire for meals. Volunteers must provide their own clothing, camping gear, food and water.

Volunteers can sign up for multiple cruises. Two polar bear guards with experience are also being sought for each trip.

Those interested can submit reservation requests online. Scheduled cruise dates are:

• July 30 (adults)
• Aug. 11-13 (family)
• Aug. 18-20 (family)
• Aug. 21 (students in grades 7-9)
• Aug. 22 (students in grades ten and up)
• Aug. 27 (family)
• Sept. 3 (adults)
• Sept. 8-10) (adults)