A large part of plastic in Iceland's beaches

There is an indication that a large part of the plastic found on the country's shores is waste that has been generated in this country. This is what Sóley Bjarnadóttir, an expert from the Environment Agency, says. The audit is based on the years 2016 and 2017. Sóley herself monitors the shores of Seltjarnarnes.

The issue is discussed on the agency's website.

"I would say that it is more obvious that the rubbish comes from land here in Bakkavík than the rubbish that is found, for example, in Hornströndur and Skagaströnd, it is more fishing-related rubbish and it is more difficult to realize whether it comes from Icelandic fishing or not. But that is, in fact, what remains to be done is to take a closer look at the origins of all the things we find. "

A large part of the rubbish that is found comes from land, such as bottle caps, food packaging, confectionery letters, shotgun shells and wet wipes. Sóley operates the wet wipes for emergency disposal in Faxaskjól 2017. This year, wet wipes can still be found on the beaches nearby, despite Veitur cleaning. "But this seems to be an absolutely horrible amount that goes through our sewage treatment system when there is such an emergency discharge and the sea seems to store these cloths and then they wash up on the shores," says Sóley in a conversation with the news agency.


Sóley emphasizes that the audit only gives an indication of the origin of plastic on the shores of the country, this needs to be investigated further. For example, it is not possible to trace the origin of plastic fragments that have been found on beaches.

"It really shows us how durable the plastic is. It could have been in the ocean for a long time but always breaks into smaller and smaller parts and eventually turns into microplastic. "



She believes that a ban on the sale of plastic carrier bags is not a universal solution but a logical step to change thinking and behavior patterns.

It is natural for Icelanders to take part in an international effort to reduce the use of disposable plastic. Icelanders are consumption-intensive compared to other countries and a lot of waste is generated as a result. Icelanders need to look at it and take responsibility. "Before you buy something, think about whether you need it. If you are buying an item in plastic packaging, sorting all the rubbish from you, it immediately changes a lot. "

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