In Norway we have a waste and plastic problem, just like every other
country. You can find these problems all around the country, in the lakes,
within the country and worst of all the coast.
By Karoline Steli
Norway is the country with the second longest coastline in the world, with a 58,133 km long coastline comes a lot of waste, especially plastic. In 2018 there were 140 thousand volunteers that helped clean up about 3 000 000 kg of garbage from the coastline around Norway.
About 90% of the waste that was found was plastic. This is a huge problem, because plastic takes so long to break down, it usually just becomes smaller pieces of plastic. These small pieces of plastic are what we call micro plastic.
All the versions of plastic do not just kill the ocean, but also all the life in the ocean. We all know that the plastic is the oceans worst enemy and that this problem only becomes worse and worse. This does not mean that plastic is only a bad thing, because plastic is one of the best resources we have. And it’s important to remember what the problem and the cause of the problem really is.
I was able to talk to someone who has a lot of knowledge and experience within littering and recycling. Harald Willumsen Østbø. CEO of Iris production AS.
When we are considering plastic in a climate and environmental perspective, it is important to have the right perspective. When plastic is recycled correctly, it has many good qualities. It for example contributes to better hygiene and longer duration on food. Plastic is more problematic in a climate perspective, especially when we see pictures of whales with their stomachs full of plastic. The plastic does not break down in nature, it becomes micro plastic that enters the food chain, where we still don’t know what the consequences are.
From the cleaning of the coastline they also found out that 46% of the garbage comes from personal consumption. Witch again shows that the big problem behind plastic, isn’t the plastic itself but the lack of recycling.
Norway has a lot of lakes, about 450 thousand to be precise. That means that there are big amounts of lakes that can and will fill up with plastic and other waste.
Since people in Norway wasn’t aware of the amounts and problems around the waste in these areas, an organization started a `mapping´ off the trash, around the lakes to see how bad the situation was. What they found was that the waste that usually ends up in these lakes comes from personal consumption, outdoors people who are hiking or camping and finally construction and civil engineering. The top three founds was unidentifiable plastic, Styrofoam and food packaging.
Within the country
Under the same mapping around the lakes they also had a big focus on the waste within the country. It was the organization «Hold Norge Rent» («Keep Norway Clean») that did the mapping. And it really gave us a better view of the situation. What they found was that there are a lot of outdoors people who really are environmental pigs, who litter. They were really shocked by the enormous amount of garbage they found in the woods. After this they concluded that Norway has a huge domestic waste problem, in addition to the plastic problems around the coast.
The problem, and the solution
It was shocking for a lot of people how much littering there actually is in Norway. There are different reasons behind this, but most importantly because Norway gives the people a lot of opportunities and recourses to recycle and take care of the country.
We are lucky to have so many resources and opportunities to take care of and help the world. And it is really important that more people start using them.
If you have the opportunity, please recycle you’re trash. If you don’t have a good opportunity to do this where you live, please do like the international school in Tahiti and find your own way, to help the world and manage you’re waste.
List of sources (19.02.2020):
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