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Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meet meeting in Delhi

India’s case for setting up another research base in Antarctica and concerns about tourism and its effects on the environment are some of the issues that is going to come up at the 30th Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meet (ATCM) beginning here today.

Scientists, policy-makers and legal experts from 45 nations will deliberate the establishment of new protected areas and historic sites and the safety of Antarctic operations at the 12-day meeting being held in the country for the first time.

India wants to set up a research station in the Larsemann Hills region on the continent but the proposal has run into opposition from some countries who want to keep the area free from human activity.

The mandatory Comprehensive Environmental Evaluation Report (CEER) for the region has been submitted and the matter will come up for discussion at the ATCM.

Tourism in the icy continent is another issue that is expected to be hotly debated at the meeting.

A few countries have been ferrying tourists to Antarctica, which according to scientists is affecting the region’s delicate and unique environment.

India has already voiced its strong opposition to the commercial exploitation of Antarctica through tourism as the trend is aggravating global warming and leading to a rise in the sea level.

Earth Sciences Minister Kapil Sibal said the matter will be taken up during the ATCM.

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