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Sunday, June 16, 2024, 10:44 am

Sunday, June 16, 2024, 10:44 am

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India needs to keep fighting against uncontrolled tourism in Antarctica.

India needs to keep fighting against uncontrolled tourism in Antarctica.
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The 46th Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM), which is anticipated to last till the end of the month, has brought together delegates from more than 60 nations in Kochi, Kerala. Every year, the “Consultative Parties,” or the 29 nations with the authority to vote on issues pertaining to the management of the continent, gather for what is essentially a meeting. Independent specialists and invited functionaries are among the other attendees, along with nations with a non-voting “observer” status. This time, there’s a fascinating item on tourism on the schedule. A set of nations that share similar views, among them India, advocated for the introduction of a plan to establish a regulatory framework that would oversee tourism across the continent. In contrast to other continents, Antarctica lacks a native population of its own.

Due to its remote location and millions of hectares of unfettered ice, this place is not suitable for everyday tourism or the elite’s regular private jet escape. Because of this, it is incredibly seductive. Today, when all area that is navigable is available for visual consumption, the Antarctica is the only continent that remains wild, with its mysteries hidden beneath miles-thick layers of ice. Nowadays, the wealthy traveler’s dream destination is Antarctica, as the industry dedicated to creating, capturing, and promoting “exotic” experiences promises exponential rewards.

According to a recent collaborative study conducted by institutions in Tasmania, the United Kingdom, and Australia, the number of tourists increased from 8,000 in 1993 to 1,05,000 in 2022.

Not all scientific expeditions and the extended stays of scientists at research stations run by several nations are included in this. There are currently more reports indicating that vacationers than scientists. Since 1966, consultative meetings have acknowledged growing concerns about tourism, along with the accompanying concerns that an increase in ships and people would result in an increase in man-made pollutants as well as an increase in accidents and disasters that would upset the region’s unique biodiversity.

However, the underlying fear of all countries is hidden by this desire to protect the unspoiled purity of the continent, which is thought to be the size of the United States and Mexico combined. Will unforeseen events in the future result in a change in terms, even if the treaty prohibits territorial claims? Will more individuals from a particular nation influence things in their favour? Although there aren’t many tourists from India travelling to Antarctica, this could easily alter in the days to come due to the country’s increasingly uneven prosperity. India supports the idea, but it has to be cautious of any agreement that may limit its future tourism potential.

 

ABHISHEK VERMA


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