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German Researcher Criticizes Ship Tourism in North Pole

German Researcher Criticizes Ship Tourism in North Pole

Wednesday, 14 August, 2019 - 06:30
A fishing boat returns from a trip to the Barents Sea to the port of Sommaroya, north Norway, January 31, 2013. (Reuters File Photo)
London - Asharq Al-Awsat

German polar explorer Arved Fuchs, 66, has criticized the explosive growth in cruise ship tourism.

"The number of cruise ships is rising, that's the crux. And the bigger the ship, the more problematic this is. Party ships have no place in the Arctic," he told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung.

In the ongoing trip he kicked off in May 2018, Fuchs, known for his extreme trips to both the North and South Poles, seeks to evaluate the damages caused by plastic wastes in the North Pole waters and to learn about the impacts of climate change on the region.

"We find sea birds that died after plastic bags blocked their stomach and prevented them from eating” he said.

Fuchs has called on the concerned governments to take stricter measures against sea plastic pollution.

A recent study found that swallowing plastic wastes affects seabirds' physiology and blood chemistry.

Researchers examined blood and plastic samples they took from shearwaters birds, which are declining in numbers and classified as near-threatened in Australia.

Jennifer Lavers of the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS), who led the research, said: "Plastic ingestion is a factor in the decline of shearwaters, but understanding how individual seabirds are affected is also further complicated."

"Our study found that birds which ingested plastic had reduced blood calcium levels, body mass, wing, head and bill length," she explained.

The study examining the impact of plastic ingestion by seabirds was published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

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