Thursday, July 19, 2012

Antarctica's sensitive environment needs better protection

The sensitive ecosystems of Antarctica are under the great threat from human activity. For many years, this kingdom of ice was isolated from humans but the growing number of different environmental issues have spread their effects all over the world, and Antarctica is sadly no exception.

Climate change remains the biggest issue for Antarctica because polar regions are the most sensitive regions on Earth to global warming but there are other growing environmental concerns in forms of pollution, overfishing, increased tourist activity and invasive species.

Add to this the fear that Antarctica may soon become a potential location for oil, gas and mineral exploitation on the continent and in the surrounding ocean and you'll get an entire mix of different issues, all of which can do serious harm to continent's environment.

The continent is currently being governed by Antarctic Treaty System that was established back in 1962, but the fears remain that with the growing climate change impact and the renowned hunger for natural resources this treaty may soon prove to be inadequate.

The current treaty forbids oil or gas development, but it's possible that this could change in years to come because world's hunger for resources such as oil continues to grow, and oil reserves are running out.

The scientists from Texas A&M University have also warned the world that „Antarctica contains over 90 percent of the fresh water in the world, locked up as solid water in its massive ice sheets.“

Since ice is melting rapidly in large parts of the Antarctica this also leads to global sea level increase and scientists have already expressed fears that sea levels could continue to rise dramatically, threatening many coastal areas all over the globe.

The current protection and conservation efforts will no doubt have to increase because of the rapidly ongoing environmental changes. We must preserve Antarctica for our future generations too.

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