At least 128 beach cleanups were completed by AECO members’ expedition cruise ships this summer, often in remote coastal areas. Cleaning up here can make a big difference as fishing nets and other debris can have devastating effects on local wildlife. So far this year, the combined cleanup efforts in Svalbard have collected over 40 tons of marine litter. This impressive number is the result of volunteer actions from AECO members, Svalbard’s local sports association, Governor of Svalbard volunteer cruises, the Norwegian Coast Guards, and several private initiatives (including one involving the Norwegian Royal Family).
However, cleaning up waste is just one step in a larger effort to understand and address marine litter. AECO members have helped document the distribution and composition of the waste they collected. This information can give researchers valuable insight that will ultimately help us beat plastic pollution.
As expedition vessels leave the northern hemisphere and head to Antarctica for the austral summer, the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO), which cooperates with AECO on the Clean Seas campaign, ensures continued engagement and outreach from all members.
With guests from around the world traveling with AECO and IAATO members, we have a great opportunity to turn the tide on plastic if all on board follow up at home. We hope our guests check their local retailers for goods with less packaging in order to reduce waste and that their participation in cleanups in remote polar regions motivates them to join a local cleanup, or even start their own.
Natural World Safaris has been a proud member of the AECO since 2016.
Contact one of our Destination Specialists to start planning your journey.
Banner image: AECO, Zet Freiburghaus, Polar Quest
Workers in Svalbard (1st image): AECO, Zet Freiburghaus, Polar Quest
Workers in Svalbard (2nd image): AECO, Chelsea Claus, Hurtigruten MS Spitsbergen
Reindeer skeleton (3rd image): AECO, Zet Freiburghaus, Polar Quest
Plastic (4th image): AECO, Quark Expeditions
Workers in Svalbard (5th image): AECO, Mario Placidi Spring, G Adventures
Polar bear (6th image): AECO, Hebe Kvernmo,G Adventures