Vevring and Førdefjord Environment Group, Naturvernforbund / Friends of the Earth Norway

Protecting the fjords from toxic mining waste

Anne-Line has fought for the last eight years to prevent the discharge of several hundred million tons of toxic mining waste into Førdefjord.

After campaigning locally with the Vevring and Førdefjord Environment Group, she quickly realized that if Førdefjord was opened up for the discharge of mining waste, it would create a precedent and put other Norwegian fjords at risk. She started working with Naturvernforbund / Friends of the Earth Norway to fight for a national ban on mining waste in all fjords.

Norway’s fjords are home to incredibly diverse marine and avian ecosystems. They are the spawning grounds and nurseries for an amazing variety of marine plants, corals, fishes, whales and seabirds. Førdefjord hosts spawning places for cod, halibut and herring. Large groups of porpoises also live there, there are sea eagle nesting sites and during the winter orcas arrive from the ocean in search of food.

The physical landscape makes fjords susceptible to damage from mining waste. Currents and tides transport sea water from the ocean into the fjords and together with freshwater from the rivers back into the sea. This creates turbulence which disperses the harmful mining waste, leading to fjords becoming clogged and the destruction of life. Small particles from the waste are able to travel beyond the fjords and add to oceanic pollution.

Anne-Line’s work with Vevring and Førdefjord Environment Group and Naturvernforbund has been broad and varied. There have been seminars with the country’s leading experts in their fields to gather knowledge and foster debate about the environmental consequences of dumping toxic mining waste. Party leaders and government delegations have visited the fjord to appreciate its natural beauty and taste its famous seafood, and there has been a creative response too. Artists in the nearby village of Vevring have put on exhibitions, composed music, written poetry, and created the world’s largest sound horn – all inspired by the ambient sounds of the fjord landscape.

“From an early age, I was conscious of the wealth of food resources and natural experiences that the fjords offer. I grew up a few metres from the fish-rich Førdefjord, and was able to fish for the family and the cat before I could read and write. The problem with dumping mining waste – leftovers from the mountain mixed with chemicals – in the fjord is that it will destroy all life in it. In addition it will destroy the way of life for people living by it.”ANNE-LINE THINGNES FØRSUND

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