SOURCE: The Guardian
DATE: September 23, 2017
SNIP: A British-led expedition has discovered sizeable chunks of polystyrene lying on remote frozen ice floes in the middle of the Arctic Ocean.
The depressing find, only 1,000 miles from the north pole, is the first made in an area that was previously inaccessible to scientists because of sea ice. It is one of the most northerly sightings of such detritus in the world’s oceans, which are increasingly polluted by plastics.
It has prompted fears that plastic waste is flowing into the Arctic as the ice melts because of climate change. The thaw is simultaneously releasing plastic that has long been trapped in the ice.
“For the 25 years I have been exploring the Arctic I have never seen such large and very visible items of rubbish,” said Hadow, the only person to have trekked solo, without resupply, from Canada to the geographic north pole.
“Finding pieces of rubbish like this is a worrying sign that melting ice may be allowing high levels of pollution to drift into these areas,” Gordon said. “This is potentially very dangerous for the Arctic’s wildlife.”