Assessment of Possible Incinerator Application at Scott Base - Can Thermal Waste Treatment an Alternative Option Compare to the Current Waste Management
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree LevelPostgraduate Certificate
Degree NamePostgraduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies
With the Antarctic Treaty implemented in 1959 human impact to Antarctica is partly regulated. Antarctica is our Earth last almost pristine continent. In the first years the main focus was laying on the fields of science and freedom, but environmental protection aspects came to an equal level of interest over time. Not least this fact is shown by the implementation of the additional conventions to the Treaty and the Madrid Protocol, which came into force in 1998 (Anon, 1998b). With Annex III to the Madrid Protocol of ‘Waste Disposal and Waste Management’ a major field of human impact is covered. Every human activity which includes use of resources in one way or the other creates waste, especially long-term activities. Science and presence of humans in Antarctica are therefore responsible for waste creation in the pristine ecosystem. Annex III of the Madrid Protocol provides in general that waste must be removed from Antarctica and carried back to the home countries of the responsible parties to the Antarctic Treaty (Anon, 1998a). Further it is mentioned that waste disposal on land (landfill) or sea ice (when broke up waste is drifting away) is prohibited, as well as open fires to burn waste (Anon, 1998a). All those points are contributed to the protection of the ecosystem and to avoid harmful impacts of emissions.
The Protocol does not regulate the point what will happen with the waste when it is back in the home countries. Therefore waste can be treated in a way of best state of the arts from a waste management point of view (e.g. recycling, secured dumping…) or in one where there is a risk that the waste influences the ecosystems of the home countries. Best state of the art techniques in waste treatment and management are not applied in every country. The monetary factor is crucial in this case, because new techniques are often expensive in implementation and application. That is so although it reduces the possibilities of harmful impacts of the waste and hence that safes costs of negative results in the future. At Scott Base the current waste management applies waste collection, separation and partly pre-treatment (e.g. glass, cardboard). The whole amount of waste (excluding waste water) is carried back to New Zealand by ship at one time per year. There, in Christchurch, the waste will partly further treated and leaded to recycling and landfill. Because of that waste management there are two risks to nature. Every weight what is carried to NZ needs fuel and creates emissions (e.g. CO2), and because a certain amount of waste goes to landfill there are risks of pollution of ecosystems in NZ. Therefore it is advisable to assess the possibility of alternative waste treatments, directly at Scott Base. In the case of this assessment it will be investigated how an incinerator at Scott Base would change the situation. What are the advantages and disadvantages with a focus on the three sectors of economy, ecology and social aspects? It must be considered that there was a small time frame of just a couple of weeks. That limited the chance to get final information from industry, because it needs time to design the best adjusted facility.