Even though the Arctic has a small human population and is relatively undeveloped, it is a key indicator for global pollution and the overall health of our planet. Industrial pollution makes its way north through the air, ocean and river currents and can cause serious problems for northern plants, animals and ecosystems.
Many Arctic species are adapted to store energy in their body fat. As animals higher up the food chain, like polar bears and belugas, consume smaller contaminated species they accumulate organic pollutants and toxic metals in their bodies. The Arctic’s extreme conditions, remoteness and shifts between land and sea-ice all make detecting, monitoring and cleaning up pollutants very difficult.
Are pollutants reaching the Canadian Arctic - Parks Canada – Time for Nature Article
Pollution and Polar Bears - Polar Bears International
Land-based pollution in the Arctic Ocean - Research abstract, link through Arctic Institute of North America