Antarctic Specially Protected Areas get 17 new protected zones

As per the Antarctic Treaty, special permission is required to enter these protected zones. Photo: Twitter/@RachelSTWood

Kochi: The Committee for Environmental Protection (CEP) that advises the Antarctica Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM) on conservation and protection of environment in the continent, recommends adding 17 more areas to the special protected zones of Antarctica.

Currently, there are 79 Antarctic Specially Protected Areas (ASPA) in the continent. Factors like scientific validity, historical significance, environment, natural beauty and protection of flora and fauna too are considered before declaring an area as protected. As per the Antarctic Treaty, special permission is required to enter these protected zones. India’s first research centre in Antarctic ‘Dakshin Gangotri’ is a protected area. The research centre that was built in 1983 has been covered in ice.

The 4.1 square kilometres of land in the eastern Antarctic region comes under the protected zone. Now, ATCM’s plenary forums has to approve the recommendations of the CEP. The meetings of the CEP and the working groups got wrapped up yesterday. Meanwhile, the plenary forums and the meetings of the signatories will be held on May 29 and 30.

The meetings would also consider the demand to declare the Emperor Penguins, a species that is on the verge of extinction, as protected species. As per reports, around 99% of the Emperor Penguin population in the world would disappear by the end of this century. The Emperor variety is the largest and the tallest among penguins. Many organisations like the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition (ASOC) had demanded to declare it a protected species. 

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