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Cleaning up after human activity in Antarctica: legal obligations and remediation realities

Hodgson-Johnston, I ORCID: 0000-0002-0305-9468, Jackson, AW ORCID: 0000-0001-5784-2637, Jabour, J ORCID: 0000-0003-0185-8415 and Press, A 2017 , 'Cleaning up after human activity in Antarctica: legal obligations and remediation realities' , Restoration Ecology, vol. 25, no. 1 , pp. 135-139 , doi: 10.1111/rec.12382.

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National Antarctic Programmes do not have a strict legal obligation to remediate the Antarctic environment following humanactivity. The Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty (the “Madrid Protocol”) obliges parties to conductenvironmental impact assessments to prevent adverse impacts on the polar environment and to “clean up” pollution from wastedisposal sites. The obligations stemming from the Madrid Protocol are not clearly defined, and give potential scope for partiesto neglect past sites of human activity on the continent. This scope is narrowed by the work of the Committee for EnvironmentalProtection in implementing clear practical clean-up guidelines for National Antarctic Programmes based on scientific-basedrecommendations from the Antarctic Treaty Parties. Despite better modern practice, Parties are still faced with damagefrom past activities. Some of these sites are deemed to be “beyond help.” This article proposes that rather than abandoningwaste disposal sites because of widely acknowledged difficulties, that National Antarctic Programmes prioritize research intorestorative methodologies and techniques, while increasing cooperation with other parties to overcome the enormous logisticaland economic costs of cleaning up pollution in Antarctica.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Hodgson-Johnston, I and Jackson, AW and Jabour, J and Press, A
Keywords: Restoration, Antarctic environment, Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty, Antarctica, international law, pollution, restoration, waste disposal
Journal or Publication Title: Restoration Ecology
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing Inc
ISSN: 1061-2971
DOI / ID Number: 10.1111/rec.12382
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2016 Society for Ecological Restoration

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