The ICEBERG project

Climate change and pollution, including plastics, ship emissions and wastewater, pose significant threats to human health and the ecosystems of the Arctic region.

The ICEBERG project is tackling these problems in collaboration with Indigenous and local communities.

From 2024-2026, we will study pollution and its impacts on the ecosystems and communities in three regions in the European Arctic: Kalaallit Nunaat (Greenland), Iceland and Svalbard.

Through innovative community engagement, we are co-developing resilience strategies to combat pollution and climate change, while also creating recommendations for new pollution-control governance.

Solving the big challenge together with locals

Climate change and human activities have multifaceted and complex effects on land and ocean ecosystems in the Arctic. The melting of glaciers and permafrost, along with increasing human activities, releases pollutants, such as plastics, heavy metals and harmful chemicals, threatening marine ecosystems and human health in the region.

For the EU to achieve its Zero Pollution Ambition, we need a deeper understanding of the complex interplay of pollution and climate change and their impacts on Arctic communities.

In the ICEBERG project, we integrate natural and social sciences with Indigenous and local knowledge. We employ an ethical, multi-actor and gender-sensitive approach to assess the impacts, risks and vulnerabilities of local communities. We also use the One Health approach, which recognises the interconnectedness and interdependence of the health of humans, animals, plants and entire ecosystems.

 

Our main goals and how to achieve them

Our aim is to mitigate the impacts of pollutants in the Arctic. Over the next three years, we will investigate the sources, types and distribution of pollutants, such as plastics, ship emissions, wastewater and heavy metals by using simulations, remote sensing and observations. On a practical level the project develops, for example, automatic marine litter detection tools using drones, AI and citizen science.

We will evaluate the toxicological impact of microplastics, nanoplastics and persistent organic pollutants (POPs) on human digestive health. We will also assess the impact of pollution emissions on the marine food web.

We will work together with the communities and stakeholders to co-develop pollution monitoring, mitigation and adaptation strategies, as well as policy recommendations for multilevel pollution-control governance.

Partners

Sibling projects and networks

We will actively collaborate with related sibling projects, as well as other networks and initiatives that are working towards the shared goals of protecting our Arctic oceans, coasts and communities.

  • ILLUQ
  • ArcSolution
  • EU Polar Cluster
  • EU Mission Restore our Ocean and Waters
  • BlueMissionAA
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Contact us

Project Scientific Coordinator

Prof. Thora Herrmann
University of Oulu
thora.herrmann@oulu.fi

Project Manager

Dr Élise Lépy
University of Oulu
elise.lepy@oulu.fi

Communications

Paavo Antikainen
Kaskas
paavo.antikainen@kaskas.fi

Innovative Community Engagement for Building Effective Resilience and Arctic Ocean Pollution-control Governance in the Context of Climate Change

ICEBERG has received funding from the European Union's Horizon Europe Research and innovation funding programme under grant agreement No 101135130

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