Guest Speaker: Wouter Jan Strietman
About the speaker: Wouter Jan Strietman is a researcher at Wageningen University, Department of Economic Research. His work is positioned between marine environment, economy and society. He has expertise in sustainable development of fisheries, marine litter and the Arctic development.
About the presentation: In this presentation, Wouter Jan will take us on a journey to a faraway place; the Arctic. Most people think of this as an unspoilt region, but this is far from the truth.
Even though the Arctic is nearly uninhabited, it’s coasts and seas are becoming increasingly polluted with plastic waste. Most of this litter arrives there through ocean currents from North America, Europe and Siberia, but some of it is also of local origin. This litter accumulates, providing an increasing threat to the environment and local communities.
There is an urgent need to put a halt to this constant inflow of plastic waste. But how can this be achieved? Cleaning up is one solution, but the most effective solution is prevention at the source. In the Artic Marine Litter Project, researcher Wouter Jan and his team are gathering previously unavailable data on the sources of marine litter in the Arctic. In addition, they are engaging local stakeholders and fishing industry experts. The results of this project can be used to take preventive, targeted, action and reduce marine plastic pollution in this region. The project has started in Svalbard (Spitsbergen) and is currently working on upscaling the project to the wider North-Atlantic Arctic region.