Plastic-free effort at royal residence failed: Crown Princess

Norway’s Crown Princess Mette-Marit has said that she failed in an experiment to cut out the use of plastic at the royal residence at Skaugum near Oslo.

Plastic-free effort at royal residence failed: Crown Princess
Crown Princess Mette-Marit. Photo: Torstein Bøe / NTB scanpix

The Crown Princess says that she and other members of the royal family remain concerned over plastics pollution, reports broadcaster NRK.

“I made an effort to make Skaugum plastic free last year, and it didn’t go so well. I think it was incredibly difficult. It was an experiment to see how normal consumers can avoid using plastics,” Crown Princess Mette-Marit told NRK.

Known for her interest in the environment, the Crown Princess and other royals have previously been involved in initiatives to removed litter from beaches in Norway.

“The experiment inspired me to think about when plastic is a necessary product, and when it actually is not. We are in no way perfect, but I think that it is important to try and reduce the use of plastic in any case,” she said.

Plastic packaging with food and electronics products was the most difficult to avoid, according to the princess.

In interviews recorded by NRK with senior members of Norway’s royal family, King Harald described as a “wake-up call” the sight near Bergen earlier this year of a whale that had become ill after ingesting plastic.

After being forced to put down the whale, researchers found 30 plastic bags and large amounts of microplastics in the animal’s stomach.

Environmental organisation Grid has estimated that around 350 million tonnes of plastic are produced annually worldwide, with drastic increases forecast in the coming years.

15 tonnes are estimated to be dumped into the sea every minute, writes NRK.

Marine biologist Per-Erik Schulze of the Norwegian Society for the Conservation of Nature (Naturvernforbundet) told the broadcaster that the issue was critical.

“Every single minute an amount equivalent to several waste disposal trucks full of plastic goes into the sea. We can observe that it is building up and is not broken down. That cannot continue,” Schulze said.

“Several researchers say that plastic is a type of environmental pollutant. An environmental pollutant is defined as something that is persistent and difficult to break down. It is then ingested by organisms and causes harm in various ways,” he continued. 

READ ALSO: Four out of five Norwegian mussels contain plastic: report


Swedish Royal Guards scrap ceremonial helmets over safety concerns

The King’s mounted Royal Guards will no longer be able to wear their iconic ceremonial helmets on parades, after the Swedish Work Environment Authority warned of serious safety concerns.

Swedish Royal Guards scrap ceremonial helmets over safety concerns

“We take the safety of our employees extremely seriously and we are going to address this immediately,” colonel Stefan Nacksten, head of the Royal Guards, wrote in a statement. 

Employed by the Armed Forces, the Royal Guards are the King’s cavalry and infantry units and are a well-known sight at ceremonies in Sweden, including at the changing of the guard at the Royal Palace of Stockholm every day in summer – a popular spectacle for Stockholmers and tourists alike.

The helmets will no longer be used by Royal Guards on horseback from July 7th, as they do not conform to safety standards for riding helmets, although guards parading on foot will still be permitted to wear them.

They are part of the 1895 parade uniforms and were last modified in 2000. The Armed Forces will now create an entirely new helmet which looks the part, but is also safe for riding.

“We’re working on finding an alternative solution as quickly as possible which meets safety requirements and can also be used during parades,” Nacksten said.

“We’ve been working long-term with this issue but now that it has been assessed [by the Swedish Work Environment Authority] we need to take measures immediately,” he added.

“This is good, and now we’re working to make sure something good comes out of this and we can get a safe riding helmet for parades in place as soon as possible.”