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Previous century

Antartica is the most scarcely populated continent in the planet. During the previous century, it was never visited by human beings. It is only in the recent past that researchers from various countries have taken interest in the continent. Even in the present scenario the vast continent still has a very scarce population and during winter it dips to less than 200 people. This statistics would give us the image of Antartica being an unexploited and unpolluted continent.

But contrary to this, a New Zealand government agency recently revealed that the extent of pollution in the land is a cause of concern. Compared to the other continents, Antartica still remains less polluted. But extreme cold conditions stop the natural process of decay and hence the continent houses the rubbish amassed over a long period. The garbage caused by over 60 years of research operations is still laying around some of the research stations. This has created a concern among the environmentalists.

There is a general notion among public is that Antartica is a cool haven. But Antatrica has all the conditions of a desert and its precipitation levels are less than that of the Sahara desert. During the earlier decades, the snow covered the garbage including carcasses of animals and beer cans and hence the pollution was not visible. But recently, the global warming has led to a thinning of the ice layers. This has exposed the huge amount of garbage lying underneath. About ten years ago, the countries using the continent for research decided to find a solution to the problem.

They agreed on a pact for waste disposal. Under this agreement, the scientists agreed to carry back all the waste along with them when they left the continent. This agreement has been quite successful and the pollution levels have come down drastically. However, the scientists often wish to leave the remains of the early expeditions that happened during the beginning of the twentieth century, untouched. The scientists are of the belief that these remains have acquired historical importance and hence they need to be preserved for posterity.

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