Tainted Tourism

| March-April 2009

Go and see the last pristine place on earth—and dump oil on it while you’re there! Surely that’s not what Antarctic tourists have in mind, but as travel to the southern pole climbs in popularity, so do environmental concerns over the types of vessels making the trip, reports Verge (Summer 2008).

In 2008, 40,000 tourists visited Antarctica, writes Mother Jones (July-Aug. 2008); by 2010 the number is expected to top 80,000. Many of the ships that ferry tourists aren’t designed to withstand the icy seas, which increases the probability of grave accidents and oil spills. The Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition is calling for a regional ban on ships that use heavy oil as fuel, as well as restrictions on discharge and regulations to ensure that only strong ships make the voyage.