Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Uganda's Bobi Wine returns home

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Brexit plan panned by EU leaders

Read more

ENCORE!

Writers Lauren Groff and Michael Chabon on Trump, marriage and being a parent in 2018

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

US Supreme Court: Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation in turmoil

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Amnesty International says at least 58 killed in Addis Ababa violence

Read more

FOCUS

Austria restricts immigration and hampers integration

Read more

PERSPECTIVE

Historian Joan Scott: 'Hardline secularism is as bad as hardline Islam'

Read more

PEOPLE & PROFIT

Shaking up the workplace: How employers face the challenge of automation

Read more

FOCUS

Even in Kenya, exiled Burundians fear for their lives

Read more

Antarctica tourism regulation urgent for environment: summit

© ARGENTINA NAVY/AFP/File | During the austral summer of 2016/2017, around 44,000 tourists set off for Antarctica, compared with just 9,000 in 1995/1996

BUENOS AIRES (AFP) - 

Tourism regulation in Antarctica has become an urgent matter due to environmental threats, officials from the 53 member countries of the Antarctic Treaty warned at their annual meeting, held this week in Buenos Aires.

In the absence of rules, travel agencies offer trips to the region on boats sometimes equipped with helicopters or submarines, according to Segolene Royal, French ambassador for the Arctic and Antarctic poles.

"This activity creates considerable disturbance ... we are witnessing a race toward large-scale tourism that is dangerous for ecosystems," she said at the assembly on Wednesday.

During the austral summer of 2016/2017, around 44,000 tourists set off for Antarctica, compared with just 9,000 in 1995/1996, according to French authorities.

However, the push for regulation is not about banning tourism, former environmental minister Royal said, but rather about ensuring it is managed in compliance with the treaty and its environmental protection protocol.

In Buenos Aires, the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting -- whose mission is to regulate human activity on the continent -- also sought to encourage scientific cooperation between countries that have collectively set up around 100 research bases across the ice.

Also up for analysis is China's proposed fifth permanent scientific station in Antarctica, which would be located in the Ross Sea area south of New Zealand.

© 2018 AFP