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An investigation of environmental pollutants in fish worldwide

The accumulation of environmental contaminants in the marine food chain poses a significant threat to vulnerable ecosystems in polar regions. Most of these pollutants are not readily degradable (persistant organic pollutants, or POPs) and are found in increasing concentrations in fish-feeding organisms and organisms higher in the food chain. Accumulation of POPs through fish consumption also pose a significant health concern for humans.

This will be one of the focus projects under the umbrella of the ongoing International Polar Year (IPY) (Norwegian IPY pages here), and the project aims to engage youth in the problem complex of POPs in polar regions. Specifically, schools are invited to take part in an international school campaign where fish samples from various regions are analysed for organic pollutants, thus linking school activities and scientific research on environmental toxic chemicals. Project summary.

Sign-up is open until 30 May 2009


What to do?

Enter data-sheet

Shipping samples

Principal objective

Engage youth in polar environmental issues and natural sciences through the participation in an international education project linking hands-on school activities and scientific research on environmental contaminants and potential health impact.


  • Increase the interest for polar regions and the environment among young people, through active participation in an international science-based education project.
  • Catch teenagersÂ’ interest for natural sciences through hands-on activities based on scientific methods used to evaluate the presence of contaminants in fish from Arctic and worldwide.
  • Enhance the understanding of transport, presence and effects of pollutants by comparing levels of dioxin-like compounds in fish from the Arctic with other parts of the world.
  • Encourage and facilitate communication between schools, and schools and research communities, in particular on polar issues.
  • Provide a unique global dataset for risk assessment of dioxin-like chemicals in fish to research communities and national/international authorities.

Who can participate?

This is a worldwide activity where the target participants are students at the age of 13 to 18 years.

Courtesy of Laestadius- skolan, Pajala, Sweden.

Steps in the project

The project is now open for uploading of your field datasheets. NILU will enter the analysis values of your fish samples in your uploaded field datasheets progressively as the analyses of your samples are ready, so please upload your field datasheets if you have not already done this.

Further, as the results accumulate, we will elaborate on the online result views so that you more easily can compare your results with those of other participants.

Project management

This project is coordinated by NILU, and partners in the core team include GLOBE Norway and GLOBE Europe, Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training, Norwegian Centre for Science Education and sustain.no.

NILU GLOBE Udir Naturfagsenteret