Reykjavík Throws Out ISK 4.5 Billion Worth of Food Yearly

It’s estimated that Reykjavík residents throw out ISK 4.5 billion ($35.99m/€32.1m) worth of food every year, Vísir reports. Food waste in the capital has been periodically tracked by the Environment Agency of Iceland. In 2016, it conducted a survey of household and business food waste in the capital; this fall, it will repeat the survey to determine how this year’s food waste levels compare.

In 2016, it was discovered that every person residing in Iceland throws away an average of 23 kilos (51 lbs) of consumable food and 39 kilos (86 lbs) of unconsumable food annually. In addition, each person living in Iceland pours out an average of 22 kilos (49 lbs) of cooking oil and 199 kilos (439 lbs) of beverages every year. There was no significant difference in how much food people wasted in different parts of the country and the overall figures were comparable to those in other European countries.

“There are a lot of uncertainties about these measurements, which can make it difficult to make comparisons,” noted Margrét Einarsdóttir, a researcher at the Environment Agency. “But the goal now is to continue developing them. There aren’t any recognised or standardised methods for measuring food waste.”

The Environment Agency received a grant from Eurostat, the EU’s statistical office, to carry out this study, and specifically asked that researchers conduct a pilot study to determine what measurements are best suited to tracking food wastage.

A thousand randomly selected households and around 700 businesses will participate in this year’s study, which Margrét says is specifically being staged in the fall, when the results are more realistic, as people are traveling less and there are fewer public holidays. Participants will be asked to weigh both the consumable and non-consumable food that they dispose of during the study period and record them in a diary. The companies surveyed will all work with food in some capacity.

Margrét says, however, that it is vital to the study that data is collected from across a wide spectrum of businesses. The last time that the survey was conducted, only 84 of the 701 companies surveyed submitted their data.“No data was received, for instance, from fisheries, fish processing plants, or companies in the dairy industry,” the 2016 survey explains.“It undeniably distorts comparisons with other countries when we’re missing data from such big and important industries.”

When asked if she had any predictions about the results, Margrét said that as a researcher, she wanted to avoid such things, but that she hopes that an increased public awareness has led people to modify their behaviours.“All you can really say is that there has been a lot of discussion about food waste over the last few months and you’d hope that it would help people to make better use of their food. Both households and businesses.”

American Government Taking Bids for Airport Construction Project

Army planes at Keflavík

The United States government has published a call requesting contractor bids for the design and construction of a new security area at the Keflavík airport, Vísir reports.

According to the ad posted on FedBizOpps.gov, the project will consist of the construct of “an aircraft apron expansion east of the existing hot cargo pad, a dangerous cargo pad with an access taxiway and a gravel beddown site with a utility enclosure.” The current cost estimate for the project is just over ISK 6 billion [$47.9 million; €42.7 million] and will be funded entirely by the American government.

Only bids from American and Icelandic companies will be accepted for the project. According to information from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, construction is scheduled to begin next year and is supposed to be completed by 2023.

Fifty Whales Found Dead on West Iceland Beach

beached whales

Fifty pilot whales were found dead on the shore of Löngufjörur in a sparsely populated part of the Snæfellsnes peninsula on Thursday, RÚV reports. A group of American tourists on a helicopter tour made the discovery and one of them, Greta Carlson, captured a video of the shocking sight and the group also reported it to local authorities in Stykkishólmur.

Greta said that she’d never seen anything like it and noted that some of the whale carcasses showed signs of having been cut or otherwise injured. She said she wanted to document the discovery in case the pictures and video she took could be used to somehow prevent a similar incident occurring in the future.

[media-credit name=”Screenshot from RÚV / Greta Carlson” align=”alignnone” width=”609″][/media-credit]

Marine biologist Edda Elísabet Magnúsdóttir said that there are any number of reasons that a pod of whales might accidentally swim into a dangerous area. For one thing, pilot whales are pack animals with strong social bonds, and do not easily abandon members of their pod.

Edda Elísabet also explained that there are strong tidal and seabed currents in the Löngufjörur area and that this could have made it harder for the whales to get back out to sea. Pilot whales depend on sonar for navigation, but sonar would have been quite limited in the area. That also might account for the whales getting stranded when the tide went out.

‘First Glacier Lost to Climate Change’ to be Memorialised

The former Okjökull glacier will be memorialised with a monument recognising its status as “the first Icelandic glacier to lose its status as a glacier.” A press release from Rice University announced that Researchers from Rice University in Houston, Texas (US), author Andri Snær Magnason, and geologist Oddur Sigurðsson will join members of the Icelandic Hiking Society and the general public to install the monument to the former glacier in Borgarfjörður, West Iceland on August 18, 2019.

 

[media-credit name=”Rice University Press Release” align=”alignnone” width=”860″][/media-credit]

The monument is styled as a “Letter to the future,” and reads:

Ok is the first glacier to lose its status as a glacier. In the next 200 years, all our glaciers are expected to follow the same path. This monument is to acknowledge that we know what is happening and what needs to be done. Only you know if we did it. Ágúst 2019, 415ppm CO2

Okjökull, or Ok Glacier, was the subject of a 2018 documentary called Not Ok, made by Rice anthropologists Cymene Howe and Dominic Boyer. Narrated by former Reykjavík mayor and comedian Jón Gnarr, Not Ok tells how in 2014, Ok became the first glacier in Iceland to melt and thereby “lose its title” as a glacier. Scientists credit Ok’s melting to global warming. According to the filmmakers, scientists fear that all of Iceland’s 400-plus glaciers will be gone by 2200.

“By marking Ok’s passing, we hope to draw attention to what is being lost as Earth’s glaciers expire,” Cymene remarked in the press release. “These bodies of ice are the largest freshwater reserves on the planet and frozen within them are histories of the atmosphere. They are also often important cultural forms that are full of significance.” The monument is said to be the first of its kind in the world.

“One of our Icelandic colleagues put it very wisely when he said, ‘Memorials are not for the dead; they are for the living,'” Cymene continued. “With this memorial, we want to underscore that it is up to us, the living, to collectively respond to the rapid loss of glaciers and the ongoing impacts of climate change. For Ok glacier it is already too late; it is now what scientists call ‘dead ice.'”

You can find more information about the documentary and RSVP to take part in the monument ceremony at https://www.notokmovie.com.