Plastics continue to pollute the marine environment around the world -including the Arctic. The summer school about plastic pollution was held in August, organized by Aarhus University, Department of Ecoscience (AU/ECOS) and the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources (GNIR) in cooperation with the UArctic Thematic Network on Arctic Plastic Pollution including GRID-Arendal.

The aim was to enable students to conscientiously and effectively contribute to an improved understanding of the problem, while obtaining first-hand experience of methods for the study and assessment of sources to and the extent of plastic pollution in the environment.

Practical and theoretical experience

According to Jakob Strand from the Department of Ecoscience at Aarhus University, students and instructors had an interesting week in Nuuk, exploring the plastic pollution: 

"It was an intensive course with field excursions with collection of ~250 kg of coastal plastic litter, visit at municipality waste handling facility, and laboratory exercises with practical seabird dissections finding a lot of Arctic microplastic and thoroughly 'deep dive' analyses on environmental plastics for improved source allocations."

Besides from the first-hand experiences, the course also consisted of lectures within the topic:

"We had also a full program with various lectures covering both monitoring aspects, preventive actions, social science and solutions in both the global, regional, national and local perspectives ending up with a seminar with several engaged local Greenlandic stakeholders, where the motivated students actively presented their findings and thoughts. Thanks to Pinngortitaleriffik/GNIR for hosting our course, the several virtual and physical presenters for their lectures and to the UArctic Thematic Network on Arctic Plastic Pollution."

Watch Jakob Strand explain some of the work in the video below.


Lecturer Anna Sinisalo from GRID-Arendal and leader of UArctic Thematic Network on Arctic Plastic Pollution, shared her experience of the course as well:

"It was wonderful to finally have many members of the UArctic Thematic Network on Arctic Plastic Pollution under the same roof sharing their knowledge and exchanging ideas in the summer school. We are very grateful for all the lecturers on site and online and I believe that we all learned a lot during the week."

The positive perspective is shared with Helene Svendsen, Project Manager Arctic Marine Litter from GRID-Arendal:

“The students were from a wide variety of academic backgrounds, and listening to the student’s give presentations and interact with the stakeholders on the last day was one of the highlights of the week.” 

Student experiences

Students from the course has also shared their experiences. Read about Louise Wittwer's experience here, who is from the University Centre of the Westfjords.

Hear from Karla Parga in the video below.


And hear from Bror Tandberg:


Finally, hear from Julia Baak tell about a day in the summer school:


Thanks to GRID-Arendal for producing the videos.