The Nunatsiavut Government’s Department of Lands and Natural Resources has partnered with CLEAR to co-create a community-based monitoring program for plastic pollution in water, snow, ice, shorelines, and traditional wild foods. Sites are currently based in Nain and Makkovik. Liz Pijogge is the Nunatsiavut lead on the project and Max Liboiron is the CLEAR lead. Data is owned and controlled by the Nunatsiavut Government and publications occur only after community review. This project is funded by the Nunatsiavut Government, the Northern Contaminants Program, CINUK, POLAR Canada, and ArcticNet.

What does a good research partnership look like? Liz Pijogge, Northern Contaminants Researcher for the Nunatsiavut Government and Dr. Max Liboiron, professor at Memorial University, tell the story of how they met, how they do research together and how it’s a model of capacity “sharing” instead of Capacity “Building” to conduct plastic pollution research in Nunatsiavut.

Studies underway:

  • Plastic ingestion by seals (over 100 samples)
  • Plastic ingestion in Arctic char (over 100 samples)
  • Plastic ingestion in turbot (close to 100 samples)
  • Plastic ingestion in ducks, cod, pigeons, and any other animals caught for food (sample size variable)
  • Shoreline plastics
  • Surface water plastics
  • Microplastics in snow and outdoor drinking water sources

If you are collecting samples as part of freezer/research programs, here are instructions for collecting guts and gathering feathers from samples.

This work is featured in niKet (food), an episode in a series about Indigenous culture in Newfoundland and Labrador on CBC Gem.