Journal article Open Access

An ecosystem-scale litter and microplastic monitoring plan under the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP)

Provencher, Jennifer; Kögel, Tanja; Lusher, Amy; Vorkamp, Katrin; Gomiero, Alessio; Peeken, Ilka; Granberg, Maria; Hammer, Sjúrður; Baak, Julia; Larsen, Jan René; Farmen, Eivind

Lack of knowledge on levels and trends of litter and microplastic in the Arctic, is limiting our understanding of the sources, transport, fate and effects is hampering global activities aimed at reducing litter and microplastic in the environment. To obtain a holistic view to managing litter and microplastics in the Arctic, we considered the current state of knowledge and methods for litter and microplastics monitoring in eleven environmental compartments representing the marine, freshwater, terrestrial and atmospheric environments. Based on available harmonized methods, and existing data in the Arctic, we recommend prioritization of implementing litter and microplastics monitoring in the Arctic in four Priority 1 compartments - water, aquatic sediments, shorelines and seabirds. One or several of these compartments should be monitored to provide benchmark data for litter and microplastics in the Arctic and, in the future, data on spatial and temporal trends. For the other environmental compartments, methods should be refined for future sources and surveillance monitoring, as well as monitoring of effects. Implementation of the monitoring activities should include community-based local components where possible. While organized as national and regional programs, monitoring of litter and microplastics in the Arctic should be coordinated, with a view to future pan-Arctic assessments.

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