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


Hodgson-Johnston, I and Jackson, A and Jabour, J and Press, A, Cleaning up after human activity in Antarctica: legal obligations and remediation realities, Restoration Ecology, 25, (1) pp. 135-139. ISSN 1061-2971 (2017) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2016 Society for Ecological Restoration

DOI: doi:10.1111/rec.12382


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

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Restoration, Antarctic environment, Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty, Antarctica, international law, pollution, restoration, waste disposal
Research Division:Law and Legal Studies
Research Group:International and comparative law
Research Field:International criminal law
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Other environmental management
Objective Field:Other environmental management not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Hodgson-Johnston, I (Dr Indi Hodgson-Johnston)
UTAS Author:Jackson, A (Dr Andrew Jackson)
UTAS Author:Jabour, J (Dr Julia Jabour)
UTAS Author:Press, A (Dr Tony Press)
ID Code:109070
Year Published:2017
Web of Science® Times Cited:5
Deposited By:Ecology and Biodiversity
Deposited On:2016-05-19
Last Modified:2018-04-18

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