Photos: Tourism in Antarctica may endanger the region’s ecosystem

Antarctica, the most desolate and the most inhospitable part of the earth, is witnessing a sharp rise in tourism. However, the carbon footprint that tourists generate while reaching the continent may pose a threat to its life and climate. Antarctica which holds the world's largest reserve of freshwater, is a ticking time bomb as the future of millions of people and species in coastal areas around the world depends on what is happening here. Experts are of the view that tourism in the region should be controlled so that tourists don’t ruin the very aspect that they come here to witness – the bounty of nature.

Updated On Dec 01, 2019 09:34 PM IST
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Tourists loot at the sunset from a ship at Chiriguano bay in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica. On this continent, visitors throng to see wildlife that is normally only viewed in zoos or nature documentaries along with spectacular icy landscapes. Experts are of the view that tourism in the region should be controlled so that tourists don’t ruin the very aspect that they come here to witness – the bounty of nature. (Johan Ordonez / AFP)
Updated on Dec 01, 2019 09:34 PM IST

Tourists loot at the sunset from a ship at Chiriguano bay in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica. On this continent, visitors throng to see wildlife that is normally only viewed in zoos or nature documentaries along with spectacular icy landscapes. Experts are of the view that tourism in the region should be controlled so that tourists don’t ruin the very aspect that they come here to witness – the bounty of nature. (Johan Ordonez / AFP)

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The Hurtigruten hybrid expedition cruise ship, MS Roald Amundsen, at Orne Harbour in the South Shetland Islands. Tourists have to follow strict rules while aboard the cruise ship: : clean their personal effects so they don’t introduce invasive species, keep a respectful distance from wildlife to avoid distressing them, not to stray from the marked paths and not pick up anything. (Johan Ordonez / AFP)
Updated on Dec 01, 2019 09:34 PM IST

The Hurtigruten hybrid expedition cruise ship, MS Roald Amundsen, at Orne Harbour in the South Shetland Islands. Tourists have to follow strict rules while aboard the cruise ship: : clean their personal effects so they don’t introduce invasive species, keep a respectful distance from wildlife to avoid distressing them, not to stray from the marked paths and not pick up anything. (Johan Ordonez / AFP)

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A sea lion remains on ice at Chiriguano Bay in South Shetland Islands. The Antarctic peninsula is one of the regions on Earth that is warming the fastest, by almost three degrees Celsius in the past 50 years, according to the World Meteorological Organization -- three times faster than the global average. In March 2015, an Argentinian research station registered a balmy 17.5 degrees Celsius, a record. (Johan Ordonez / AFP)
Updated on Dec 01, 2019 09:34 PM IST

A sea lion remains on ice at Chiriguano Bay in South Shetland Islands. The Antarctic peninsula is one of the regions on Earth that is warming the fastest, by almost three degrees Celsius in the past 50 years, according to the World Meteorological Organization -- three times faster than the global average. In March 2015, an Argentinian research station registered a balmy 17.5 degrees Celsius, a record. (Johan Ordonez / AFP)

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Gentoo penguins at the Yankee Harbour in the South Shetland Islands. The colony of 2,500 penguins has been gradually declining over the years, but it’s not known if that is man’s fault or they have just moved away, according to Karin Strand, Hurtigruten’s vice president for expeditions. (Johan Ordonez / AFP)
Updated on Dec 01, 2019 09:34 PM IST

Gentoo penguins at the Yankee Harbour in the South Shetland Islands. The colony of 2,500 penguins has been gradually declining over the years, but it’s not known if that is man’s fault or they have just moved away, according to Karin Strand, Hurtigruten’s vice president for expeditions. (Johan Ordonez / AFP)

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Tourists at the Yankee Harbour in the South Shetland Islands. The Antarctic Treaty, signed 60 years ago by 12 countries -- it now has 54 signatories -- declared the area a continent dedicated to peace and science, but tourism has gradually increased, with a sharp rise in the past few years. (Johan Ordonez / AFP)
Updated on Dec 01, 2019 09:34 PM IST

Tourists at the Yankee Harbour in the South Shetland Islands. The Antarctic Treaty, signed 60 years ago by 12 countries -- it now has 54 signatories -- declared the area a continent dedicated to peace and science, but tourism has gradually increased, with a sharp rise in the past few years. (Johan Ordonez / AFP)

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Tourists look at glaciers onboard the Hurtigruten hybrid expedition cruise ship, MS Roald Amundsen, at Chiriguano Bay in South Shetland Islands. The Roald Amundsen “guests” choose between three restaurants, from street food to fine dining -- a far cry from the conditions endured by the Norwegian adventurer for whom the ship is named, who had to eat his sled dogs to survive his quest to reach the South Pole in 1911. (Johan Ordonez / AFP)
Updated on Dec 01, 2019 09:34 PM IST

Tourists look at glaciers onboard the Hurtigruten hybrid expedition cruise ship, MS Roald Amundsen, at Chiriguano Bay in South Shetland Islands. The Roald Amundsen “guests” choose between three restaurants, from street food to fine dining -- a far cry from the conditions endured by the Norwegian adventurer for whom the ship is named, who had to eat his sled dogs to survive his quest to reach the South Pole in 1911. (Johan Ordonez / AFP)

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A cabin of the Hurtigruten hybrid expedition cruise ship, MS Roald Amundsen. Tourists have paid at least 7,000 euros ($7,700) each for an 18-day cruise in a standard cabin, and up to 25,000 euros ($27,500) for a suite with a balcony and private jacuzzi. (Johan Ordonez / AFP)
Updated on Dec 01, 2019 09:34 PM IST

A cabin of the Hurtigruten hybrid expedition cruise ship, MS Roald Amundsen. Tourists have paid at least 7,000 euros ($7,700) each for an 18-day cruise in a standard cabin, and up to 25,000 euros ($27,500) for a suite with a balcony and private jacuzzi. (Johan Ordonez / AFP)

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A tourist swims on Half Moon island. “The continent probably would be better off being left to penguins and researchers, but the reality is, that is probably never going to happen,” said Michael Hall, professor and expert on polar regions at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. (Johan Ordonez / AFP)
Updated on Dec 01, 2019 09:34 PM IST

A tourist swims on Half Moon island. “The continent probably would be better off being left to penguins and researchers, but the reality is, that is probably never going to happen,” said Michael Hall, professor and expert on polar regions at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. (Johan Ordonez / AFP)

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Tourists travel by kayak on Half Moon island. All around this island, off the Antarctic Peninsula, blocks of ice of all sizes float by on a calm sea, their varying forms resembling weightless origami shapes. On this strip of land, that juts out of the Antarctic Polar and towards South America, visitors can see wildlife normally only viewed in zoos or nature documentaries along with spectacular icy landscapes. (Johan Ordonez / AFP)
Updated on Dec 01, 2019 09:34 PM IST

Tourists travel by kayak on Half Moon island. All around this island, off the Antarctic Peninsula, blocks of ice of all sizes float by on a calm sea, their varying forms resembling weightless origami shapes. On this strip of land, that juts out of the Antarctic Polar and towards South America, visitors can see wildlife normally only viewed in zoos or nature documentaries along with spectacular icy landscapes. (Johan Ordonez / AFP)

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The Antartida Argentina Science Station on Half Moon island. Cruise ships have roamed the region for around 50 years, but their numbers only started to increase from 1990, as Soviet ice-breakers found new purposes in the post-Cold War era. Some 78,500 people are expected to visit the region between November and March, according to the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO). That’s a 40-percent increase from last year. (Johan Ordonez / AFP)
Updated on Dec 01, 2019 09:34 PM IST

The Antartida Argentina Science Station on Half Moon island. Cruise ships have roamed the region for around 50 years, but their numbers only started to increase from 1990, as Soviet ice-breakers found new purposes in the post-Cold War era. Some 78,500 people are expected to visit the region between November and March, according to the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO). That’s a 40-percent increase from last year. (Johan Ordonez / AFP)

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