Tromsø IL’s Romssa arena is full of particles in the car park – NRK Trams and Finnmark

Tromsø IL’s Romssa arena is full of particles in the car park – NRK Trams and Finnmark

The European Union has decided to ban the use of small handles, rubber pellets, and artificial grass that you find on many football pitches.

But it is still allowed to be used in a transitional period for the next eight years.

TIL replaced its old pitch last year but reckoned the old one is still good enough for other football pitches in the city.

So they wanted to give them away. But the municipality says no.

That’s why it’s in the car park now.

Øyvind Alapnes, General Manager of TIL, believes that there are no other alternatives to pellets in Northern Norway.

Photo: Aslaug Aarsæther / NRK

– Public authorities don’t want that kind of granulate to be given to others, so we are not allowed to do anything with artificial turf, says Øyvind Alapnes, general manager of Tromsø IL.

DIL is in the process of collecting tenders for removing the old synthetic grass pitch from the car park.

According to Alabnus, they expect it to cost more than a million.

Old synthetic grass and microgranules in Romsa Arena
Photo: Aslaug Aarsæther / NRK

What to do with the trails is being debated

– Artificial grass with rubber particles is problematic.

So says Håkon Waage Gjertsen, Manager of the Operations Unit for Parks, Sports and Outdoor Activities at Tromsø Municipality.

According to the Norwegian Environment Agency, rubber granules are the biggest sources of microplastic spread.

Across the country, clubs are looking for alternatives to the environmental disaster.

Håkon Waage Gjertsen, Operations Unit Manager for Parks, Outdoors and Sports at Tromsø Municipality

Håkon Waage Gjertsen, Manager of the Operations Unit for Parks, Sports and Open Space at Tromsø Municipality, says that they have previously taken measures to prevent the spread of particles on other courses.

Photo: Aslaug Aarsæther / NRK

Waage Gjertsen at Tromsø Municipality says that the EU ban is the reason why the municipality does not reuse artificial grass for TIL.

– We are having an internal discussion about what we are going to do in the municipality with our routes and how we are going to handle this situation, says Waage Gjertsen.

– Disperses microplastics

Bjørn Aas, project manager of the NTNU project Artificial Turf 2021, estimated that the old artificial grass track in Tromsø IL contained 100 tons of plastic-containing material.

He is convinced that the way it was stored led to the spread of microplastics.

– This means that if it rains, and throughout the winter, some rubber particles will come off. But the worst part is that the micro-materials, which are the smallest rubber particles, are easily washed out of the thicket, washed away with surface water and continue in nature.

Bjorn Aus, Project Manager for Kunstgrass 2021.

Bjorn Aus, Project Manager for Kunstgrass 2021

Photo: Trond Odin Myhre Johansson / NRK

– Better security facilities should be developed

The municipality may use artificial grass for TIL in the next few years, but wants to wait with a decision until it sees what is being done nationally.

– We are waiting for the situation and don’t want to get trouble from TIL and other teams with pitches in Tromsø.

The new artificial grass pitch at TIL has the same type of particles as other elite series stadiums.

According to Alabnus, compared to the previous type of particles they had on the old synthetic turf pitches, it is better to play with and more environmentally friendly.

– but it’s not good when it goes out of bounds. Everyone understands that, says Alabnus.

– For now, we have to use the particle type here, but we need to create better safeguards so that the particles don’t disappear from the path.

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