What are the barriers to establishing effective wastewater management in Antarctica?
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree LevelPostgraduate Certificate
Degree NamePostgraduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies
Antarctica is often presented as earth's 'last untouched wilderness', however human induced impacts have been progressively transforming aspects of the environment since our arrival on the continent. Wastewater discharge from research stations is a significant vector of non-native microorganisms, high nutrients loads and a range of contaminants, and has been shown adversely affect the receiving environment in a variety of ways. Effective treatment technology now exists for cold environments and implementing wastewater treatment at all research stations would help reduce the potential suite of effects. Despite this, the management of wastewater in Antarctica is varied, with some stations still employing rudimentary treatment facilities or disposing raw sewage to the environment. In this review, the barriers to establishing effective wastewater management in Antarctica have been explored. The literature suggests that the environmental values of each country, the logistical/financial challenges of installing and operating treatment stations, and an outdated environmental protocol are the primarybarriers to effective treatment systems being installed at all stations. It is likely that further advanced treatment plants will be installed at some stations in the future, given a growing awareness of the impacts of untreated wastewater in Antarctica. However, this is likely to be the result a country's values rather than regulatory requirements.
- Literature Reviews