World Ocean Clean Up Day in Tromsö

Longitude 69, Latitude 18, 350 kilometers due North of the Arctic circle is a place called Tromsø. A destination that has been known as the gateway to the Arctic for several generations.

Tromsø has been the base for expeditions farther North and beyond, and is now becoming a place where its inhabitants, who represent over 100 nationalities, are doing powerful things to change the way people live in the not so minuscule town of Tromsø. 

While the coastlines of Norway are considered pristine, the Arctic is unfortunately on the path of the gulf stream, bringing ocean plastic, fishing debris and other unfortunate articles of garbage onto its coastlines from all over the world. For the second year, Pukka Travels, an Arctic travel company looking to pave the way of environmentally friendly tourism invited fellow tour operators, the Kommune, the student community and of course the locals organized an ocean clean up on world clean up day to freshen up the coastlines where the orcas and humpback whales feed in the winter months. Everyone is hoping to spark change in the community to show how easy it is to come together as one to have great impact on the area. Several projects, primarily state funded, have been working hard on kickstarting a coastline cleaning revolution along the Norwegian coast, and in the last year many projects have been popping up around the Norwegian coast such as the groups clean up in 2017. 

Since last September, when they cleaned 1400 kg of trash from the coastline in just 3 hours, there has been 110 registered cleanups in Tromsø and Karlsøy with locals, students, companies, students and conservancies, such as Zing Ocean Conservancy cleaning up anywhere from 2 bags to several tonnes. 

In 2018, there has been over 50 tonnes collected from this region alone. 50 tonnes is about thirty times as heavy as a car, 90 times as heavy as a polar bear, or even seven and a half times as heavy as an elephant. On Saturday, September 15th, this years world clean up day, 60 volunteers set sail and cleaned up 1400 kilograms of trash in just 2.5 hours. It is a powerful domino effect that Is an unfortunate truth, but the reality that we live in today. After sailing for a few days after the trip, we made sure to keep an eye out for ocean plastic whenever we set foot on land. Isn’t it magical how one good deed leads to awareness and a chain reaction of positive actions? 

Perri Rothenberg

Photos by Adam Klingeteg

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