You know how it is. You are going to the shops and you ask if anyone would like anything while you are there. Since we are going to the Arctic, we thought we’d get in touch with a few people to see if they wanted us to bring anything back for them. Enter Dr Stephanie Wright. Stephanie is a research associate with King’s College London specialising in microplastics. Microscopic particles of plastic from clothing, packaging etc rise into the atmosphere and can be ingested or inhaled, not just by humans, but by the natural environment and the animals who live there.
While it was considered that microplastics were almost to be expected in densely populated areas, only a month ago airborne microplastics were found in what was thought to be pristine wilderness in the Pyrenees.
Yesterday it was reported that a plastic bag had been found during a dive to the bottom of the Mariana Trench.
As humans we have a huge impact on the natural world around us, and it has always been our aim that Integrity and her expeditions could help to observe, and collect data in the more remote corners we gentlemen like to explore.
During our trip to Jan Mayen, Justin will take snow samples from various altitudes on the slopes of the Beerenberg volcano for analysis by Dr Stephanie and her team. We have also been instructed on how to collect atmospheric deposition i.e. setting dust. If airborne microfibres are found, they can be matched with meteorological records taken on the island to try to determine where they came from.
As an Arctic nature reserve, Jan Mayen is a perfect location for adventure and science. We have been given permission from the Norwegian Police Commissioner of Bodo to collect samples and we hope they will be useful to Stephanie’s team.