Antarctic waste disposal exercise succeeds

Antarctic waste disposal exercise succeeds

A project to help clear Antarctica of junk has overcome a final hurdle,
with the unloading of a shipment of 1,000 tonnes of scrap metal. Three
years after it began, the British-based Mission Antarctica project has
cleared the scrap from Russia’s Bellingshausen base. It also took
tonnes of trash out from three other stations on King George Island,
off the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. Final negotiations
with Uruguayan authorities held up unloading for several days before
(on February 1) rusting remains of abandoned machinery, drums and
building materials were lifted off the ship Anne Boye. Up to 30 tonnes
of oil and paint waste were not accepted, and will go to a specialist
treatment plant in Europe.

Antarctic clean-ups have been under way for more than a decade as
individual nations address piles around their bases that accumulated
for years until attitudes changed. But some countries remained too
impoverished to mount a clean-up, despite the scale of their problems.
Mission Antarctica marshalled extensive corporate help for the
Bellingshausen clean-up. Backers included Merrill Lynch and
biotechnology company Serono. Work on the project has been under way
for at least three years.

For the past two austral summers, mission members worked at gathering
the material, cutting it into manageable pieces and removing liquids to
safe containers. Then late last year heavy lifting equipment was
shipped to Bellingshausen aboard Anne Boye. The project struck trouble
when the Danish-registered ship grounded in Fildes Bay. But it was
refloated within 24 hours by the Argentinean tug Castillo. Assisted by
Russian national programme members, Mission Antarctica volunteers then
collected the waste in open top skips and lifted these onto a barge to
be floated to Anne Boye. The Bellingshausen work was completed in
favourable weather ahead of schedule. In addition around 40 tonnes of
waste was taken from bases belonging to Chile’s, Uruguay and Poland.

Mission Antarctica plans to take its message to this year’s World
Summit on Sustainable Development in South Africa, and carry on with
other clean-up work

Ano da Publicação: 2002
Fonte: Warmer Bulletin enews #5 2002
Autor: Natália Caninas
Email do Autor: natalia@openlink.com.br

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