Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of Feb. 23, 2016

microplastics
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Fleece, other synthetics are a major microplastics problem
A large amount of microplastics in local and other Arctic waters appears to be from fleece and other clothing made of synthetic materials, according to two researchers conducting a study in Adventfjorden. “There have been studies conducted about the washing of fleece and it turned out that a single washing of a fleece jacket can release thousands of tiny particles,” said Jan H. Sundet, an oceanographer at the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research. Sundet and Dorte Herzke from the Norwegian Institute for Air Research estimate more than 100 million particles are released into local waters daily. The biggest problem, they note, isn’t the particles themselves, but the fact they tend to absorb toxic materials that affect sea creatures swallowing them.

Greenpeace opposes local fish processing industry
Greenpeace is opposing the establishment of commercial fish processing plants in Svalbard, arguing that while such facilities may initially be seen as an attractive way to replace lost coal mining jobs, there are significant long-term ecosystem risks. “On the American side they won’t harm biodiversity they don’t know anything about and we believe it would have been natural to take the same precaution on the Norwegian side,” said Truls Gulowsen, head of Greenpeace Norge. But he said is is not opposed to the commercial catching of snow crab as they make their way toward Svalbard since they are an alien species that threatens native marine life.

Police investigating signal pistol shot in Barentsburg
A signal pistol was fired apparently by accident Saturday in the cloakroom of the hotel in Barentsburg, according to The Governor of Svalbard. “Some tourists were in the locker room at the hotel in Barentsburg and undressing to undress when the shot went off,” said Police Chief Lt. Trond Olsen. The man with the gun told police it discharged when it fell and hit the floor. Nobody was injured. Police are investigating the determine if charges will be sought.

About Post Author

Mark Sabbatini

I'm a professional transient living on a tiny Norwegian island next door to the North Pole, where once a week (or thereabouts) I pollute our extreme and pristine environment with paper fishwrappers decorated with seemingly random letters that would cause a thousand monkeys with a thousand typewriters to die of humiliation. Such is the wisdom one acquires after more than 25 years in the world's second-least-respected occupation, much of it roaming the seven continents in search of jazz, unrecognizable street food and escorts I f****d with by insisting they give me the platonic tours of their cities promised in their ads. But it turns out this tiny group of islands known as Svalbard is my True Love and, generous contributions from you willing, I'll keep littering until they dig my body out when my climate-change-deformed apartment collapses or they exile my penniless ass because I'm not even worthy of washing your dirty dishes.
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