Air Pollution,  Ecosystem Threats,  Land Pollution,  Ocean Pollution,  Water Pollution

Arctic Pollution

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).



  • ErinnGoBragh

    In order to save what is left of the Arctic, we need to give up our dependence on oil and invest more in clean energy. Investing in clean energy is like killing two birds with one stone (just an expression). It would decrease carbon production and it would help the economy by creating more jobs. Our government needs to crack the wip on big oil companies, like Shell, who plan to drill in the Arctic ocean.

  • FurElise

    Like many issues related to polluting the environment, the first step is to educate. If people are not aware that they are polluting, then there is nothing they can do to stop it. There is, of course, the issue that people are aware but continue to turn a blind eye to the issue. Like it was said before, it’s amazing to see that the government does not have many regulations preventing these compaines, and its consumers, from producing so much pollution. I can understand not wanting the government to have so much control, but at the same time, something needs to be done and soon.

    • cns2392

      Agreed. Awareness is key, and not just individual awareness. It needs to be a community recognition that evolves into a community effort. Those that turn a blind eye need to realize that what we do now is what effects our future. It has been said before, and I’ll say it again… This is our legacy. Our legacy includes areas we never ourselves venture to, like the Arctic Circle. Just because we are not physically there causing havoc and harm does not mean those areas don’t suffer severe repercussions of our actions. It’s funny… As I was reading articles on this website today, I noticed the title – The Global Fool: Our planet and our village. The first time I read it, I read – The Global Fool: Our planet and our privilege. Regardless of how you want to look at it, this is OUR planet, OUR village, and OUR privilege to live here and we need to treat it with respect.

  • bcastro3

    I still find it hard to believe that many governments allow companies to function while polluting the environment so much. A lot of contamination can be blamed on companies but its also the consumers fault, including myself. I know its extremely hard to just stop companies from manufacturing what ever their product may be but some drastic change has to be done soon. Also, its funny how so many people don’t believe in global warming….its obvious that its happening and were all contributing to it. So, yes its easier said than done, but we all have got to start learning more and informing more people how were slowly killing each other. And with the part that talked about contamination around indigenous villages, the government should definitely be doing something to stop that.

    • chow26

      A lot of governments allow these companies to do what they want due to bribery, lobbying and kickbacks. When it benefits the politician, a blind eye is often turn to these companies activities, despite the negative effects posed to the public and the environment.

  • nicole_v23

    I know this sounds weird but when I think of the oceans the Arctic is always the last one to come to my mind. I have a tendency of automatically associating the Arctic with cute polar bears and penguins not as a potential toxic wasteland. I have always heard of how a lot of the wild life, such as polar bears, are in danger of extinction due to the melting of polar caps caused by global warming, which coincidentally aids in the spread of pollution. It’s sad that it might be too late to really do anything about it.

    • theglobalfool

      thinking in these terms “it’s sad that it might be too late to really do anything about it” does not help anyone – may be we can’t reverse things, but we can delay them, and eventually stop pollution and global warming, or at least bring them to levels that are not harmless and allow us to live in a sustainable global ecosystem

      we need ideas, innovation, involvement, service, dedication, and a sense of responsibility, not for the bad, but for the good to come

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