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Big rocks with rubbish and a person cleaning.

Cleanup operation between rocks


The Norwegian Centre for Oil Spill Preparedness and Marine Environment started the autumn cleanup season by tackling a highly littered area together with LAS, Lofoten Turlag and Vestvågøy Municipality beneath Bårdsundtinden outside Ure in Lofoten.

The clean-up operation was the kick-off for the autumn cleaning season and the National Beach Cleanup Project 2021. The clean-up area was registered as a littered area in Rydde. The litter was not visible from the sea or from the path that runs through the area. Huge amounts of litter had been brought ashore by the sea in a narrow bay. Much of the waste lay between and below the boulders. The amount of litter, which was hidden in ravines and under rocks, was massive for the cleaning gang.

– It is tragic to see so much waste in such a small area. Bjørn Harald Brenna is an environmental consultant in Vestvågøy municipality and participated in the clean-up operation.

The majority of the waste was from fisheries and aquaculture

The heaviest part of the cleanup was large coils of rope that were stuck under rocks and nets that were ingrained in the terrain.

The cleared waste was recorded in Clean-up, and the majority of ropes, buoys, floats, net rings and styrofoam were removed. The sources of much of the waste were sea-based, and originated from fisheries and aquaculture. After intense efforts by the cleaning personnel, there were four big bags filled with waste plus 17 plastic bags in the depot that was established. Parts of the area were cleaned during the day, but there was still some littering on the surface and unprecedented amounts of ingrained waste when the cleanup operation was finished for the day.

– Due to the amount of waste that was not cleared and the amount of waste needing to be transported out, we will return to the area to clear all the rubbish before the waste is taken out by helicopter, says project manager Mads Homleid Busvold.

Ta med lokalkunnskapen

The entire clean-up team gathered at the litter depot with participants from Lofoten Turlag, Clean-up Lofoten, LAS and Vestvågøy Municipality.

Bring local knowledge

– Collaborating with locals was positive for this cleanup operation. Including the municipality and local manpower in cleanup operations is something we will develop further in the work of cleaning up marine litter, says Mads Homleid Busvold.

The area where the cleanup operation was taking place was hilly, and required professional logistics, both to bring in cleanup personnel, but also to have the rubbish transported out. Mads Homleid Busvold believes that those involved need to be aware of what it requires in terms of planning and logistics in inaccessible areas.

– Cleaning in demanding and inaccessible areas places extra demands on planning and logistics. Among other things, we experienced how important it is to think about tides when the cleaning personnel are going to and from the intervention site by boat, he says.