Environmental Contaminants

Contaminants is a broad term that embraces many kinds of loads and covers a wide range of environmental pollutants, including plastic litter and the presence of microplastic in the environment. In order to reduce the environmental input and the effects of pollution, it is essential to have knowledge about sources, discharges, dispersion, transport, fate of contaminants in the environment, uptake in food chains, effects and ecological consequences.

NIVA has a wide-ranging research environment with the ability to understand all these aspects of pollution. Research is often conducted in close contact with problem owners and authorities. To work with environmental pollutants, it is crucial that you have suitable methods for tracking sources, mapping abundance, monitoring the state of the environment and assessing the effects of the pollution. Method development is therefore a central part of NIVA's work, and method development is directly applicable to environmental studies and monitoring programs, impact assessment and ecological risk assessment, identification of risk mitigation measures and development of action plans.

(Photo: NIVA)

Our geographical scope in the work on environmental contaminants and pollution covers the whole of Norway and also includes the Nordic, Arctic, Europe, South America and Asia. We work with issues from fjord to mountain; from open sea to coast and fjord, rivers and lakes. NIVA's environmental contaminants section carries out research projects in addition to applied projects for public and private sector, especially for industrial enterprises, and works with issues from source tracking to effects of environmental contaminants:

• Mapping and monitoring of process water flows and emission points
• Identification of sources and quantification of discharges to aquatic environments
• Dispersion and transport of environmental contaminants into the environment from direct and diffuse discharges
• Mapping and monitoring of contaminants in water, sediment and biota
• Development of monitoring methods
• Indicators for monitoring of environmental contaminants
• Bioaccumulation and effects of environmental contaminants in aquatic food chains (marine and freshwater)
• Organic risk assessment of contaminants
• Impact assessments of planned measures or unforeseen events that affects the aquatic environment
• Cleanup measures of contaminated sediments: method development, action plans and monitoring of measures
• The occurrence and effects of micro-plastic and plastic sampling
• Water and environmental management: standards and guidelines
• Stakeholder involvement and communication

Our results are reported in professional NIVA reports, reports for the Norwegian Environment Agency, the Nordic Council of Ministers and other senior bodies, in addition to scientific publications, presentations, lectures and popular science texts.

Figure from Bråte, Inger Lise N. et al (2016): "Plastic ingestion by Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) from the Norwegian coast" i Marine Pollution Bulletin. doi:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2016.08.034.

Last updated 19.05.2021