eCite Digital Repository

Marine plastic pollution in the polar south: responses from Antarctic Treaty System


Zhang, M and Haward, M and McGee, J, Marine plastic pollution in the polar south: responses from Antarctic Treaty System, Polar Record, 56 Article e36. ISSN 0032-2474 (2020) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2020 the Author(s). Published by Cambridge University Press.

DOI: doi:10.1017/S0032247420000388


Marine plastic pollution is increasing prominence in current discussions on the governance of the world’s oceans. The Southern Ocean is geographically remote but is still significantly impacted by plastic pollution. Plastic pollution in the Southern Ocean can derive from a variety of sources, including waste from research stations and fishing operations within the Treaty Area and, through transport by ocean currents and wind-generated water movements, from outside the Treaty Area. While there is a growing academic literature on marine plastic pollution in Antarctic, there is less attention to date on the response of the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS) to this issue. This paper analyses how the ATS has engaged with the issue of plastic waste in general, and marine plastic pollution more particularly, from the entry into force of the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty in 1998–2019. Our results indicate that from 2017 the ATS has shown increased attention towards addressing locally sourced marine plastic pollution. A significant problem, however, remains with the respect to marine plastic pollution originating from outside Antarctic Treaty Area that requires a governance response from outside the ATS.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Antarctic Treaty System, plastic pollution, Antarctic governance, environmental protection, Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Political science
Research Field:International relations
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Management of Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments
Objective Field:Assessment and management of Antarctic and Southern Ocean ecosystems
UTAS Author:Zhang, M (Miss Mengzhu Zhang)
UTAS Author:Haward, M (Professor Marcus Haward)
UTAS Author:McGee, J (Associate Professor Jeffrey McGee)
ID Code:141912
Year Published:2020
Web of Science® Times Cited:5
Deposited By:Oceans and Cryosphere
Deposited On:2020-12-02
Last Modified:2021-03-18

Repository Staff Only: item control page