Published March 15, 2022 | Version v1
Journal article Open

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

  • 1. Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ottawa, Canada
  • 2. Department of Biological Science, University of Bergen, Norway/Institute of Marine Research (IMR), Bergen, Norway
  • 3. Institute of Marine Research (IMR), Bergen, Norway/Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA), Oslo, Norway
  • 4. Department of Environmental Science, Aarhus University, Roskilde, Denmark
  • 5. Norwegian Research Centre (NORCE), Stavanger, Norway
  • 6. Alfred-Wegener-Institut Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung, Germany
  • 7. IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, Kristineberg Marine Research Station, Fiskebäckskil, Sweden
  • 8. Faroese Environment Agency, Argir, Faroe Islands
  • 9. Department of Natural Resource Sciences, McGill University, Sainte Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec, Canada
  • 10. AMAP Secretariat, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • 11. Norwegian Environment Agency, Oslo, Norway


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.


Provencher et al. 2022 Arctic Science_Ecosystem.pdf

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