The British Antarctic Survey was presented with a national "Green Apple" Gold environmental award at The House of Commons, 6 November 2003, for the successful removal of an old waste dump from Antarctica. The Green Organisation, which is dedicated to promoting the positive side of environmental endeavours, issues the "Green Apple Awards", for examples of best practice.
The waste dump, near the remote BAS summer field station at Fossil Bluff, Alexander Island (Antarctic Peninsula) was a legacy of the early days of British science activity in the Antarctic in the 1960's and 1970's, before new regulations controlling waste removal came into place with the Antarctic Treaty Environmental Protocol.
The 0.5 million clean up was part of a partnering agreement between BAS and British Construction Company AWG Construction Services. The project was begun at Fossil Bluff on 11 December 2002 and was completed 6 February 2003. A team of four clean-up specialists from AWG Construction Services undertook the clean up assisted by three BAS staff.
A total of over 50 tonnes of waste, including hundreds of fuel drums, an engine block and general rubbish, was removed. Hazardous wastes such as lead-acid batteries, medical syringes and asbestos were also cleared away.
The wastes were first flown to Rothera and then shipped to the Falklands Islands or UK for recycling or safe disposal. Half the clean up cost was provided by BAS' parent body -the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). BAS matched these funds by providing support logistics such as Twin Otter Aircraft and three project staff.
BAS Environment Officer, Dr John Shears, says, "We are delighted to win a Gold Green Apple Award. The BAS is committed to protecting the Antarctic environment and we hope that other nations working in the Antarctic will follow this example of environmental best practice
The UK has been undertaking a major fiveyear programme, costing £2 million, to remove abandoned British stations and waste dumps from Antarctica, in accordance with the Environmental Protocol to the Antarctic Treaty (1998).
Like other nations, Britain now removes all its solid Antarctic waste for reuse, recycling or safe disposal, including wastes generated by past activities.
The 2003-2004 season will see the completion of Britain's Antarctic cleanup programme with the removal of the abandoned British stations at Detaille Island, Danco Island and Prospect Point on the Antarctic Peninsula.
The old waste dump at Fossil Bluff in February 2002, before removal works began.
The excavated waste dump at Fossil Bluff in February 2003, after clean-up works were completed successfully.