By The Editors
The Great White North is not in good shape. It’s one of the most vulnerable and fragile ecosystems of our planet and is contaminated with about everything: furans, cadmium, dioxins, chlordane, selenium, polychlorinated biphenyls, mercury, radioactive fallout.
There are 8 countries that possess territories extending beyond the 66th Parallel: Canada, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia, the United States (Alaska), Denmark (Greenland) and Iceland. It is estimated that about 4 million people live north of the Arctic Circle,
Industrial development in the Arctic is leading to waste accumulation, especially in the vicinity of indigenous villages. However, this is not all. It’s a global problem, a problem of global pollution. Indeed, a major source of contamination is the spillover of industrial contaminants from other regions through air, ocean, and river currents.
Pollution in the Arctic presents additional problems when compared to contamination in other regions: Pollutant detection and monitoring as well as cleanup are difficult because of the specific climatic conditions, remoteness, and the shifting interplay between land and sea-ice. In addition, the reduced level of sunlight does not allow the speedy break-down of contaminants, which is usually aided by solar radiation. Therefore, the degradation process is lengthened — this leads to an increased likelihood that toxic substances will find their way into the food chain. And…. we all know that the vulnerability of this region is greatly affected by climate change and the melting of the ice cap. The influx of trawlers and tourists and the drilling for fossil fuels all add to the increased environmental threat experienced by this region.
Below you can see an Arctic map depicting the provenience of persistent organic pollutants (POPs). Those included in the map are hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH), chlordane, toxaphene and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).