Ob and Yenisei named the main carriers of plastic waste in the Arctic

Ob and Yenisei named the main carriers of plastic waste in the Arctic
Ob and Yenisei named the main carriers of plastic waste in the Arctic

A group of scientists from Russian universities and research institutes completed the world's first analysis of human waste in the four seas of the Russian Arctic shelf. Studies have shown that at the bottom of the Kara and Chukchi seas there is a lot of waste - plastic, which was brought by the Siberian rivers Yenisei and Ob, as well as timber from marine fishing, shipping and oil and gas production, the press service of the Tomsk State University (TSU), one of the participants, told TASS. project.

“Until recently, the main water area of ​​the Arctic Basin (Arctic Ocean) was not studied for the presence of marine debris. In the Soviet period, there were single expeditions throughout our Arctic, but at that time the problem of littering of water areas was not, therefore, the emphasis was on other aspects. In fact, our transarctic expedition is the first in which an attempt was made to estimate the amount of garbage on the bottom of the four seas of the Arctic Ocean - the Chukchi, East Siberian, Kara and Laptev seas " TSU Alexey Orlov.

In the course of trawl studies of anthropogenic (through human fault) pollution of the seas in the water column and at the bottom, various wastes were found, most often plastic. According to the conclusions of scientists, the main sources were the removal of household waste by large rivers - the Ob and Yenisei, on which Siberian cities are located, and waste from marine activities such as fishing, offshore exploration and production of oil and gas, as well as shipping and coastal tourism.

During the expedition, 174 trawls (sampling) were carried out. As the analysis of trawl catches showed, the maximum amount of solid litter was found in the southwestern part of the Kara Sea, where waste was encountered in 36% of cases. For comparison, in the Chukchi Sea - less than 4%. In trawl catches, marine debris is mainly represented by household waste - plastic films and bags, as well as wood residues. The cleanest, according to the results of the study, are currently the Laptev Sea and the East Siberian Sea. This is due to the fact that there are no large rivers and settlements, there is no fishing.

As noted by the press service, recently, human waste has become one of the most widespread and large-scale pollutants in the world's oceans. In particular, millions of tons of plastic waste fall into it every year. The predominance of anthropogenic pollution and its potential to harm ecosystems has led to the inclusion of such waste in the list of the main threats to marine biodiversity.

Representatives of the All-Russian Research Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography (VNIRO), the Institute of Oceanology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Biological Institute of TSU and the Polar Branch of VNIRO (Murmansk) took part in the work.

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