1269 The Organic Contamination of Antarctic Water as a Result of Long Range Atmospheric Transport of Pollution (Admiralty Bay, King George Island)

Wednesday, 25 January 2017
4E (Washington State Convention Center )
Malgorzata Szopinska, Gdansk Univ. of Technology, Gdansk, Poland; and Z. Polkowska

The Antarctic environment is considered as the lowest pollution levels in the world. Nevertheless, the growing number of studies on the presence of a broad range of chemical compounds in various elements of the Antarctic environment may indirectly indicates the scale of the growing global human influence in this area. The primary input of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) to Antarctic is mainly via long range atmospheric transport from remote industrial areas. Emissions of these pollutants may come from neighboring Southern Hemisphere nations. The main emission sources of POPs and heavy metals in the Southern Hemisphere are related to urbanized areas, especially those with intensive agriculture, as well as tropical and subtropical regions, where spraying is used for disease vector control. Moreover, human activity in the Antarctic (including touristic and scientific activities) also represents a potential direct emission source of chemicals.

Water chemical analysis that were performed, were involved two types of research areas on the western shores of Admiralty Bay: the surroundings of Henryk Arctowski Polish Antarctic Station and Ecology Glacier Area. The main objective of this study was identification and  quantitative determination of a wide range of pollutants considered as  contaminants (e.g. aldehydes, Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons, PAHs) in the western shores of Admiralty Bay (King George Island; South Shetland Islands). Moreover, the emission sources of contaminants transported to the King George Island area has been preliminarily classified.

It is very important to become familiar with accurate levels of pollution concentrations present in individual elements of abiotic environments. Polar catchment areas constitute the sources of fresh water for all organisms living in Antarctica. Moreover, Antarctic ecosystem has a very simple structure. Therefore, even a small amount of pollution present in abiotic elements of nature may constitute a significant hazard for any individual plant and animal species because of absence of advanced detoxification mechanisms. Hence, the monitoring of concentration level of pollution is extremely important to protect the environment of the western shores of Admiralty Bay [Antarctic Specially Protected Area 128; Site of Special Scientific Interest No. 8 King George Island].

The  authors  would  like  to  thank  the  staff  of  the  Henryk Arctowski Polish Antarctic Station for the opportunity of sampling.

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