Future monitoring of litter and microplastics in the Arctic – challenges, opportunities and strategies

Jennifer F Provencher, Stefano Aliani, Melanie Bergmann, Madelaine P. T. Bourdages, Lene Buhl-Mortensen, Francois Galgani, Alessio Gomiero, Maria Granberg, Bjørn Einar Grøsvik, Bonnie Hamilton, Tanja Kögel, Jan Rene Larsen, Amy L. Lusher, Mark L Mallory, Peter Murphy, Ilka Peeken, Sebastian Primpke, Jakob Strand, Katrin Vorkamp

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The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme has published a plan and guidelines for the monitoring of litter and mi-croplastics (MP) in the Arctic. Here, we look beyond suggestions for immediate monitoring and discuss challenges, opportuni-ties, and future strategies in the long-term monitoring of litter and MP in the Arctic. Challenges are related to environmental conditions, lack of harmonization and standardization of measurements, and long-term coordinated and harmonized data storage. Furthermore, major knowledge gaps exist with regard to benchmark levels, transport, sources, and effects, which should be considered in future monitoring strategies. Their development could build on the existing infrastructure and net-works established in other monitoring initiatives in the Arctic, while taking into account specific requirements for litter and MP monitoring. Knowledge existing in northern and Indigenous communities, as well as their research priorities, should be integrated into collaborative approaches. The monitoring plan for litter and MP in the Arctic allows for an ecosystem-based approach, which will improve the understanding of linkages between environmental media of the Arctic, as well as links to the global problem of litter and MP pollution.

Original languageEnglish
JournalArctic Science
Pages (from-to)209-226
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023


  • Indigenous communities
  • ecosystem
  • effects
  • sources
  • transport pathways


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