Dramatic environmental changes are currently occurring in the Arctic at an unprecedented pace. Both marine and terrestrial environments are affected due to the observed comprehensive changes in the cryosphere of the North. These reported changes are expected to have considerable consequences for environmental systems as well as for the local human populations. Mainly the rapid reduction of the Arctic cryosphere (ice-associated systems) will have consequences for biological systems as well as infrastructures and local societies. A variety of indicators illustrate the environmental stress of environmental and climate changes in the Arctic. This includes foraging behavior of top predators, significant changes in the food webs, invasion of new species and changes in the seasonal migration patterns of species. A large part of environmental pollution research is currently conducted in Svalbard (Norwegian Arctic). The Archipelago is easily accessible and the logistical support available by various research infrastructures makes it an attractive research location.

A variety of new local organic pollutants are identified and investigated on Spitsbergen. The island of the Svalbard archipelago where the main settlements are located. Poly-And perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) are among the most relevant substances. Recently, high PFAS contamination was reported for mining locations, local airports, and waste handing infrastructures. Follow up studies confirmed that the local environments receiving PFAS emissions are directly affected by the contamination.

These studies are considered as an early warning indicator for other Arctic regions as well as non-Arctic regions and allow assessments of potential multi-pollutants fate and consequences in sensitive environments.

A first summary on PFAS levels, fate and distribution in the Svalbard environment will be discussed. Major challenges and interlinkages for the environmental protection and local communities will be included in the discussions. The potential for conflicting priorities will be highlighted and discussed based on case studies. Potential solutions, and future research priorities with respect to the appropriate sustainable response will be elucidated.

Professor Roland Kallenborn is an international renowned scientist and University teacher in the field of organic analytical chemistry, environmental chemistry and environmental risk assessment, bioaccumulation, and food web responses to environmental contaminants. He is an environmental chemist working on method development for identification, characterization, and mitigation of organic environmental pollutants, including contaminants of emerging concern and their transformation products. Currently, his research focuses on the elucidation of pollutant profiles in Urban Agriculture, food processing and Arctic environments. He applies modern trace analytical methods in an interdisciplinary context in his research strategies. For his work, he applies quantitative validated analytical methods for the determination of legacy and new priority anthropogenic pollutant. He works with advanced chromatographic separation techniques with sensitive mass spectrometric detection (LC/MS, GC/MS, GCxGC-MS). Kallenborn is author/ co-author of 140 per reviewer publications, 12 books/ monographs  (author, chapter author and editor), 20 contract reports, 10 popular science papers and more than 300 presentations (poster/ oral) in international conferences and seminars. He serves as editor/ editorial board member for the IF registered scientific Journals “Current Chromatography”, “Fresenius Environmental Bulletin”, “Ecotoxicology and Chemistry”, “Environmental Science and Pollution Research” (Springer) and “Chemosphere” (Elsevier).