A team of volunteers collected 9.5 tonnes of trash in Hornstrandir Nature Reserve in the northern Westfjords last month, RÚV reports. It is the fifth organised clean-up in the area, and this year’s team collected a record amount of trash. The group’s leader says they are just scratching the surface of what is washing up on Hornstrandir’s shores.
Located in the Westfjords, Hornstrandir is Iceland’s northernmost peninsula and has been protected since 1975. A team of around 30 volunteers from the organisation Hreinni Hornstrandir (Cleaner Hornstrandir) gathered trash in the area in late June. A coast guard ship then removed all 9.5 tonnes collected last weekend.
Gauti Geirsson, the project’s leader, says as much as 90% of the garbage gathered is fishing equipment, “but we also find a lot of small things that have started to break down. Ketchup bottles, shoes, all kinds of plastic objects that are being blown off the land,” Gauti stated. “Some completely new. It’s a little sad to see that and also sad to see how much it is, just unbelievable.”
The trash collected comes from around the world. Though it may be difficult to pinpoint where much of the objects are from, many plastic items come with clues such as serial numbers or logos.
Hreinni Hornstrandir has gathered 28 tonnes of trash from the reserve over the last four years. “We’re just scratching the surface, and although it’s small in the big context, if everyone contributes, thinks about their consumption, I think we can do a lot together,” says Gauti.