This beach broke all plastic records

This beach broke all plastic records

AKERØYA, WHALER (Dagbladet): Ytre Hvaler National Park is one of the most important. Outer areas In the Oslofjord. Here is Averøya, a resting place for birds and people.

But the end station for large numbers of small and large pieces of plastic.

– We’ve been cleaning up this beach for 12 years as part of a European project to map plastic from oceans and rivers. Akeroya broke all garbage records. In particular, the number of Q-tips, balloons and pellets set a record, Ann Liz Becken of Oslofjord’s Outdoor Council tells Talkbladet.

Plastic hunters: Here, two Niva plastic researchers, Anne Lise Bekken (tv) and Liv Marit Toverud from the Oslofjord Outdoor Council, have been cleaning up and recording plastic on Akerøya beach for the past 12 years.  Photo: Lyne Franzen / Dogbladet

Plastic hunters: Here, two Niva plastic researchers, Anne Lise Bekken (tv) and Liv Marit Toverud from the Oslofjord Outdoor Council, have been cleaning up and recording plastic on Akerøya beach for the past 12 years. Photo: Lyne Franzen / Dogbladet
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More than 90 percent plastic

Marine biologists Becken and Liv Marit Doverud have been working on the Averistranda cleanup since early 2012. In the early years, the beach was littered with a surprising number of Q-tips, balloons and other pieces of plastic.

– Ageroa doesn’t have a lot of trash, but a lot of plastic pieces. These numbers are important because small pieces of plastic are easily ingested in the digestive system of marine life. According to our calculations Aspar Registration had to expand its plastic categories, says Becken and continues:

– It’s scary to think that Akeroia is the most littered beach in Europe. In a record year, we found about 20,000 pieces of plastic on this small stretch of beach. Fortunately, the number of plastic components has decreased over the years. When we cleaned up here this spring, it was down to 5,000 to 6,000 pieces, Beacon says.

Summer grazing: Plastics researchers believe that many pieces of plastic in Ageroea become part of the food diet for both sheep and birds.  Photo: Lyne Franzen / Dogbladet

Summer grazing: Plastics researchers believe that many pieces of plastic in Ageroea become part of the food diet for both sheep and birds. Photo: Lyne Franzen / Dogbladet
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She feels that most people are better at picking up plastic waste when they are out in nature.

– The discovery of the so-called plastic whale off Chotra has woken up many, says Becken.

It was only in 2017 that a beached whale was found in Chotra with 29 plastic bags in its stomach. In the same year, the government awarded NOK 25 million to organizations seeking to eliminate plastic shorelines.

Plastic bag whale spurs beach cleanup efforts

Plastic bag whale spurs beach cleanup efforts


Plastic covers the beach

But while beach scavengers find less plastic now than they used to, if you look down at the ground in Akeroya there are pieces of plastic everywhere.

Black and white pen, pieces of styrofoam, pieces of green and blue plastic from trawlers, white pellets, plastic bags, biofilters from treatment plants and indeterminable pieces of garbage lie between stones, grass and sand on the beach.

CLOSE: Despite marine biologists and Hvalar's Archipelago rangers cleaning up Akeroi's beaches this spring, Akeroi's beach bottom is once again littered with plastic.  The archipelago's warden, Bart Wickerheim, believes that most of this came from abroad, via the Skagerrak.  Photo: Lyne Franzen / Dogbladet

CLOSE: Despite marine biologists and Hvalar’s Archipelago rangers cleaning up Akeroi’s beaches this spring, Akeroi’s beach bottom is once again littered with plastic. The archipelago’s warden, Bart Wickerheim, believes that most of this came from abroad, via the Skagerrak. Photo: Lyne Franzen / Dogbladet
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– It’s like you have to go back and forth. Just when you think you’ve picked everything up, turn around and go back the same way and you’ll find a few more pieces, says Bård Vikerheim of the archipelago service Hvaler, Sarpsborg and Halden.

He calls himself the caretaker of the archipelago. Throughout the year, he and his colleagues have been taking care of the open spaces in the three municipalities.

Enough to do: Burt Wickerheim works for the Archipelago Service in Hvaler, Srpsborg and Halten.  Every year they pick up tons of marine debris.  - He says that picking up plastic is an eternal task, but we should have faith that it will be useful.  Photo: Lyne Franzen / Dogbladet

Enough to do: Burt Wickerheim works for the Archipelago Service in Hvaler, Srpsborg and Halten. Every year they pick up tons of marine debris. – He says that picking up plastic is an eternal task, but we should have faith that it will be useful. Photo: Lyne Franzen / Dogbladet
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– People have become better at picking up plastic and litter when they are out in nature. But more than enough to depart. We collect 12 to 15 tonnes of marine litter a year, he says.

Microplastics everywhere

This week, the plastic experts conditionThe Norwegian Institute for Water Research with beach cleaners in Akerøya.

For the first time, microplastic levels will be measured in the coastal zone. It’s part of Norway’s monitoring program for microplastics to find out how much microplastics are in nature – and how harmful they are.

Plastics experts: Niwas Amy Lusher (TV) has been researching plastics for about 15 years and is one of the world's leading experts on the subject.  - I wonder how long we haven't discovered microplastics.  It's everywhere, Luscher says.  Here Niwa with colleague Vanaja Alling.  Photo: Lyne Franzen / Dogbladet

Plastics experts: Niwas Amy Lusher (TV) has been researching plastics for about 15 years and is one of the world’s leading experts on the subject. – I wonder how long we haven’t discovered microplastics. It’s everywhere, Luscher says. Here Niwa with colleague Vanaja Alling. Photo: Lyne Franzen / Dogbladet
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– Plastic is a product made from oil, which was once plants. Research is now being conducted on the effect of microplastics. Vanaja Alling says there are many indications that plastic is very harmful to both humans, animals and nature.

Together with colleague Lusher, she carefully picks up the top layer of beach sand. It’s brown and wet, and we’re missing plastic pieces.

– We can’t see the micropatches with the naked eye, but we can see them when we come back to the lab. I’ve been doing this for almost 15 years and sometimes it’s surprising that microplastics haven’t been discovered. It’s everywhere, Luscher says.

Colleague Alling nods. He says he is trying to have a “professional relationship with plastics research”.

– Otherwise things would be very sad, she says.

Microblast: Biologist and senior researcher Vanaja Alling aims for a colorful part of the coastal zone.  - The colorful stuff that goes through the filter is microplastic, he explains.  Photo: Lyne Franzen / Dogbladet

Microblast: Biologist and senior researcher Vanaja Alling aims for a colorful part of the coastal zone. – The colorful stuff that goes through the filter is microplastic, he explains. Photo: Lyne Franzen / Dogbladet
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Mostly at sea

Beach cleaners and researchers are hard at work. The hope is to eliminate plastic in nature. But they keep shaking their heads. Even after the container spilled about three years ago, visible particles are still lying around.

Blue and green threads hanging from the bottom of the drag. Plastic that holds together fishing nets, rope, construction waste and six-packs of beer.

Plastic takes the blame for emissions

Plastic takes the blame for emissions


– Fortunately, children have become better at parenting, so people clean up more now than ever before. But, it is sad to see plastic ending up in the ground like here. Beacon says you can imagine how much is left in the ocean.

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Joshi Akinjide

Joshi Akinjide

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