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Cleanup Svalbard: Protecting wild places, come along

Join a TeamJames Hipkiss

The Svalbard islands are an archipelago in between Norway and the North Pole. The Svalbard Clean up in 2016 has a simple goal: visit beautiful, historic and remote parts of the high Arctic stunning glaciers, looming cliffs, polar bears, arctic birds and walruses and much more while lending some time on the voyage to help clean up coastal areas in need. Activities are supervised and do-able by variously-skilled and diversely-aged people, and weather (and polar bear-presence) dependent of course. The Association of Arctic Expedition Operators, the Governor of Svalbard and ocean wide Expeditions,initiated this clean up.I joined this clean up in September 2015 and it was brilliant. I also brought along a ship-board floating exhibition on art made from garbage, Discard/Art.Read about it here. I handled a group of civilians on a similar clean up in the Antarctic 20 years ago (documented in The Antarctic Book of Cooking and Cleaning) so I am attracted to this polar opposite stewardship endeavour. What an awesome way to see this extreme northern part of the world plus a unique chance to make a small contribution.Scientific studies show the negative impact of pollution in the Arctic and elsewhere on all life forms.

We have a worldwide problem: we must vastly reduce it, ensure safe disposal when waste is unavoidable and adopt more earth-friendly sustainable options for how we live and consume.Sea currents transport garbage to the beaches in Svalbard. Much of this garbage's origin in the fishing industry, and fishnets, trawl balls. Plastics dominates the picture. Reindeer's get their antlers stuck in fishing nets and trash of iron, and can suffer a long and painful death. Birds eat plastics and die as a result.Large amounts of litter have been washed ashore on some beaches in Svalbard. The bulk of the waste comes from shipping, especially from the fishing fleet in the Barents Sea and the waters around Svalbard. As it takes a long time for this waste to be broken down, it is accumulating fairly rapidly. It is obvious that this litter does not belong on the beaches of Svalbard.

The colours of the garbage are in glaring contrast with the natures mellow colours. The garbage is a threat to the wildlife in Svalbard.-Ocean wide Expeditions If you are interested in signing up for the expedition, inquire or book now, mention my group, Devine Cleaning. The ship expedition staff will be giving dynamic talks on the history, nature and wildlife of Svalbard.Price its 16% discounted than what a cruise for this location and length would normally be. Options depending on your budget. All rooms look great and have a view to the outside world, comfortable beds, a desk and an ensuite toilet with shower. Includes all meals, programming, port charges and taxes and use of rubber boots made for polar walking! Airfare to Norway and boozy drinks not included.For more details go to Oceanwide Expeditions to read about the project.