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Three people clearing waste in breakwater.

Report from the centre’s final clean-up operation in 2021

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The final clean-up operation as part of the national beach clean-up project in 2021 took place in Sunnmøre at the end of October and was a collaboration between Fallgard, Runde Environmental Centre, Sunnmøre Outdoor Council and the Archipelago Service in Møre og Romsdal.

The plan was to spend the first day clearing up waste in Mulevika, but inclement weather conditions meant that we had to change our plans. We moved the operation to Kvalsvik on the eastern side of Nærland Island. Here, we were able to shelter from the bad weather coming in from the southwest. Here, at the outermost point of Golleneset, was the place where the ore transport ship MS Arisan sank one January day in 1992. Odd Arne Arnesen from Fallgard gave an account of the accident, which led to extensive oil spills and many kilometres of polluted beaches in the area. Odd Arne and several other locals played a crucial part in the clean-up operations at the time. They still do. The commitment to a clean coast is something they have brought with them in the fight against marine litter.

After a few hours of clearing, we stopped at “Vollanaustet”, a small fisherman's shack situated in Kvalsvik harbour. Over a piping hot bowl of “burnt snout” soup, we had the chance to warm up and learn more about the important work being undertaken in Sunnmøre. We also discussed the Rent hav mapping tool and received useful input.

The centre also had the opportunity to discuss clean-up operations and challenges with the organisations involved in the operation.

The grease that keeps the wheels turning

Day two and the bad weather continued to rage. The wind and waves had turned north and the conditions at sea forced us to stay on land. The clean-up operation with the Archipelago Service had to be cancelled. As we were unable to meet on location, we went to visit the Archipelago Service at the Outdoor Council office in Eidsnes, outside Ålesund. This is where they are based when they are not out at sea.

The Møre og Romsdal Archipelago Service launched in 2018 and is the latest and northernmost operating unit of the Archipelago Service. The service collaborates closely with the outdoor councils and arranges operations with school classes, organisations and sports teams, among others. They are committed to making it easy for volunteers that want to clear waste and contribute clean-up equipment, transport and waste collection. They describe themselves as the “grease that keeps the wheels turning”.

There are many challenges associated with clean-up operations along the Møre coast, even on days with little wind and good weather it can be difficult to moor by boat, especially on the outermost islands. The use of helicopters is a good alternative for transporting waste to land here. It is often cheaper, safer and more efficient to transport waste by helicopter than boat, but this requires strict logistics and proper planning, according to Torgeir Sund, who is the head of the Archipelago Service in Møre og Romsdal.

Experiences for the future

Mads Homleid Busvold is the Project Manager for the national beach clean-up operation and has been involved in four clean-up operations this year. He is pictured here in Færder National Park in September.

Through the 2021 national beach clean-up project, the centre has participated in clean-up operations with local participants in four different counties. One of the goals of the project was to get to know clean-up participants, outdoor councils and county governors better. In this project, we have mapped and observed how clean-up operations take place. In the field, we have had the opportunity to experience the incredible efforts made along the coast by volunteers, outdoor councils and the Archipelago Service and we have gained further knowledge of the challenges associated with the way clean-up activities are currently organised in Norway. The project has also led to excellent input on Rent hav that will help us in the further development of the tool.

The experiences gained from the 2021 beach clean-up project will be summarised in a report.