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  • Employees at Mausund Field Station took a group from NTNU out to Froan Nature Reserve to see the extent of marine litter and carry out their field work. Photo: Hilde Ervik, March 2020
    Action Ocean Plastic Waste

Action Ocean Plastic Waste

Action Ocean Plastic Waste

Plastic waste has reached all the world's oceans, fueled by approximately 8 million additional pieces of plastic pollution finding their way into the seven seas every single day. From macroplastics to microplastics, to chemicals leaching from the plastics, it is all a threat to reaching the goals set out in UN Sustainability Goal 14 for a healthy and sustainable Ocean. 

NTNU Oceans and NTNU Sustainability have established a joint initiative titled NTNU Action Ocean Plastic Waste, currently for the 3-year period 2020-2022. The purpose of the initiative is to contribute to NTNU's vision 'Knowledge for a better world', more specifically with activities for increased knowledge in the area of plastic waste, marine plastic littering and plastic pollution, in line with UN SDG No. 14 and its targets. 

Action Ocean Plastic Waste builds on the work done in this area of plastic research at NTNU. The program is intended to act as a coordinating superstructure of various projects and individual activities at NTNU in the area of plastic waste, marine plastic littering and plastic pollution. The AOPW initiative aims to connect relevant researchers, both within NTNU and externally, and raise the visibilty of ocean plastic research. Additionally, AOPW will further facilitate cross-disciplinary projects, promoting the launching of research and innovation activities that would include students with the collaboration of researchers and other NTNU staff, in an effort to fight plastic pollution in our Oceans.

For questions regarding this initiative, please contact: &

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One of the projects already established by the AOPW initiative, Interns for Sustainability project, will run in the period 2020-2022 and it is co-funded by Handelens Miljøfond.

The project motivates already established students and researchers at NTNU to choose topics related to Ocean Plastic Waste for pre-thesis and thesis project work, offering selected projects some additional funds as well as the opportunity to join some of the other project activities, including the team projects with partners in South Africa.


More on Interns for Sustainability projects


Interested in doing your thesis on a related topic?

You can work with your supervisor and join the AOPW network for more support, resources and possible outreach based on your work. Contact Maria Azucena Gutierrez for more information

We have a number of students affiliated with Handelens Miljøfond project, Interns for Sustinability, with projects concluding in the spring semester 2021, we will be able to share updates from students' research in Chemistry, Biology, Arcitecture & Design, and Psychology. 


More on Masters, PhD and Student Project Work


Experts in teams (EiT) is a master's degree course where students develop their interdisciplinary collaboration skills. The course is compulsory for all students at master's level at NTNU. Each student will be part of an interdisciplinary group that will face major, real societal challenges. The students will utilize the interdisciplinary competence in the group to solve a specific project. At the same time, during the work, they will reflect on how the actual collaboration on the project works.

This year, we have centered one class, or 'village' on Ocean Plastic. Village information here.

To engage our research community and citizens, we will conduct a series of virtual events starting in fall 2020. From Ocean Clean Up Challenge to sharing information on the social media platforms, we will be aiming to raise awareness of the issue and the research produced both at NTNU and partner institutions.

There are numermous departments and disciplines researching on plastic related issues at NTNU, from physical to social sciences. Here we highlight just a few of those research groups and projects.


Prediction Model for Ocean Plastic Policy (PlastOPol) aims to develop prediction models to trace and analyze marine plastic waste flows and provide support for policy makers and citizens in developing and implementing mitigation measures.

Blue Circular Economy

The Blue Circular Economy is a transnational project funded by the Northern
Periphery and Arctic Programme, that helps Small and Medium-Sized
enterprises (SMEs) offering products and services, within fishing gear
recycling solutions, to attain a great market reach.


The ATLANTIS project is working on developing models to quantify human impacts on the marine ecosystem within the framework of Life Cycle Impact Assessment. We focus on plastic pollution and marine invasive species and aim to develop our models in a global, spatially-differentiated way. ATLANTIS has been funded by the European Research Commission.

EnviroChemistry Lab

The lab’s scope of research includes understanding environmental sources, pathways, distribution, dynamics and fate of chemical pollutants from macro- and micro-plastics. Current studies include biomonitoring of chlorinated, brominated and fluorinated organic compounds, phenolic endocrine disruptors, and other emerging environmental contaminants related to plastic for characterizing human and wildlife exposure pathways, and to allow evaluation of sources, pathways and risks.


This project will allow to integrate potential environmental impacts of marine litter, especially plastic, in Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) results. This will lead to a more comprehensive picture of potential environmental impacts in order to identify trade-offs associated with the use of plastic and other materials in a product system.


ENVITOX performs research on the occurrence and effects of a broad range of pollutants within biological systems from the molecular to the population level, using field sampling, controlled experiments (in vitro and in vivo) as well as mathematical modeling.We also investigate how plastics and other synthetic agents (e.g., endocrine disrupting chemicals) affect human and ecosystem health.