Rauðasandur Annual Beach Cleanup Complete

plastic

On Saturday, July 2, volunteers cleaned up the Rauðisandur beach for the seventh time, reports Iceland’s Environmental Agency.

The annual cleanup takes place through the cooperation of the Environmental Agency, landowners, and the local municipalities. This year, 22 volunteers were on hand to help clear the beaches.

Small debris is cleared off of the beach with bags, but larger items must be placed in piles to be taken away to containers for sorting. Notably, this year saw significantly less trash than previous years, perhaps due to the lull in tourism brought on by COVID.

Part of the beach cleaning is carried out in accordance with OSPAR, an international agreement for environmental protection in the North-East Atlantic. This entails demarcating a 100m stretch of beach and then measuring and reporting all debris. This is done to better understand the ways in which pollution, such as plastic, accumulates in the ocean.

Unlike other beaches in Iceland with black, volcanic sand, Rauðasandur, located in the West Fjords, is noteworthy for its red sands. This distinctive feature comes from scallops, which grow in particularly high density in Breiðafjörður.

Skeiðarárjökull Fastest Retreating Glacier of Last Year

iceland glaciers

In a newsletter from the Melting Glaciers project, Skeiðarárjökull was singled out as the fastest-retreating glacier last year, having lost some 400m of its eastern tail.

In their 2021 overview of the state of Icelandic glaciers, the Meteorological Office of Iceland stated that glaciers in Iceland have been receding for at least a quarter of a century and that this pattern is one of the clearest forms of evidence for climate change in Iceland. The only significant exception to this trend was in 2015, when Icelandic glaciers were either in equilibrium, or even experienced slight growth.

Since 1995, Icelandic glaciers are estimated to have lost a total of 8% of their total volume.

Breiðamerkurjökull, the glacier that terminates in the popular tourist attraction Jökulsárlón, also experienced significant loss last year, shrinking around 150m.

Melting Glaciers is a cooperative project between the Icelandic Meteorological Office, Vatnajökull National Park, the Ministry of Environment, Energy, and Climate, the University of Iceland’s Institute of Earth Sciences Glaciology Group, and the Southeast Iceland Natural History Museum.

German Airline, Condor, to Begin Service to Akureyri and Egilsstaðir

Akureyri in winter

The German airline, Condor, is set to begin servicing Akureyri and Egilsstaðir starting in the summer of 2023, according to a recent press release.

Ralf Teckentrup, CEO of Condor, stated: “Iceland is one of the most popular destinations in the north. We are looking forward to offering our guests the opportunity to discover this diverse destination with its beautiful nature. With the connections to Akureyri and Egilsstaðir, we are also responding to the great demand from numerous tour operators offering round trips in the north and east of Iceland.”

Icelandic authorities have been trying for some time to open up more ways to fly to Iceland. The current arrangement came about through the cooperation of Austurbrú, Isavia Domestic Airports, Íslandsstofa and Markaðsstofa Norðurlands.

Sigríður Dögg Guðmundsdóttir, Head of Visit Iceland, said in the statement: “These new flights give our visitors the possibility to explore Iceland further by landing directly in the north or the east of Iceland. Both regions offer breathtaking landscapes and have a great tourism infrastructure in place, with a wide choice of hotels and outdoor activities and facilities.”

Currently, Egilsstaðir is only serviced by domestic flights, while Akureyri has several international connections to London, Copenhagen, and Tenerife. As both towns have developed airports and other tourist facilities, the hope is that this new service will further open up these regions to travel.

Condor is based out of Germany and services locations throughout Europe, North America, Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean.