World Environment Day

Garbage in the high Arctic
Garbage in the high Arctic

Yesterday was World Environment Day. A day to think about our environment and what positive actions we can take to improve it. Every summer when I’m on Spitsbergen, I find garbage everywhere. Driftwood of course, brought by different currents from Siberia, but also lots of plastic straps, bags, crates, fishing nets and so on. Even bath ducks… Most of it is not produced on Spitsbergen, but carried by the gulf stream and dropped on the beach. When I find a beach like that, I ask the guests to help and pick up some of it. The collection of garbage was the result of such a clean up action where we cleared 200 meters of beach… We took it with us on the ship and brought it back to the ‘capital’, where we can deposit it for free. The governour or Spitsbergen has made a special program “Clean up Svalbard”, asking tourist ships to do so. Together we’ve cleaned up large parts of the archipelago, turning it a bit more into the wilderness it should be…


Arjen Drost

Arjen is a Polar ecologist, nature photographer and full time expedition guide on expedition cruise ships in both Polar regions. With his pictures and stories he likes to show the beauty of these very fragile and threatened places.


  • Oregon does beach cleanups by volunteers quite frequently. There’s also a woman who has started an awareness project by turning this plastic beach trash into “art” I believe California and Washington states also have similar projects going as well, but there seems to be no end to it. And now we await more stuff arriving from the Japanese Tsunami.


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