Tag Archives: Project Isfjorden

Pick of the litter: Removing big pieces of trash from Isfjorden improves beaches; small pieces explain how it got there


The hundreds of volunteers who spent their days and weekends last summer clearing beaches near Longyearbyen of trash are likely to most remember the huge rusting oil barrels and other large items that dominated muscle and mass during the pickups. But researchers spending months afterward analyzing debris are far more interested in the tiny bots collected from tiny areas cleaned by those volunteers.

Both groups are being credited with making significant environmental contributions to Project Isfjorden, in ways as different as their results.

Beasts of burden: Volunteers discover ultimate price wildlife pays for trash, want others to see the deadly entanglements


Several meters away from a large square of crude log benches were more than a dozen intact and shattered wine bottles were loosely grouped, two large sets of reindeer antlers were hopelessly snarled by a torn section of fishnet at one end and an far more tortuous snarl of steel cords at the other.

The debris’ fatal presence didn’t end with the reindeer who, like many other larger sea and land wildlife, were slowly starved of food, oxygen or some other life necessity. Kai Müller, a volunteer helping to clean the beach where the antlers were found, got metallic slivers in his eyes while carrying it on his shoulder – the kind of tiny fragments that kill multitudes of birds, fish and other small animals.