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Monday March 28, 2022 at 07:30

Experts from several universities analyze the human impact on Antarctica

Experts from several universities analyze the human impact on Antarctica Experts from several universities analyze the human impact on Antarctica

A conference organized by the URJC brings together prestigious specialists to assess the effects of the presence of human beings on the frozen continent.

Raul Garcia Hemonnet

Antarctica is the most unexplored continent on Earth. Despite this, more and more polluting elements are identified, derived from the human presence in their lands and waters. The 'II Seminar on Emerging Impacts of Human Presence in Antarctica' has the objective of presenting data on the effects of this presence and its consequences on this continent.

To do this, explains Yolanda Segura, professor in the Department of Chemical and Environmental Technology and director of the conference together with fellow professor Yolanda Valcárcel, from the Department of Medical Specialties and Public Health, "We have invited highly relevant researchers who have been working on the Antarctica. In addition, we plan to contact one of them who is there at the time, so that he can give us his live presentation”.

The conference will deal with topics such as biodiversity in that area of ​​the world, environmental impact, or the use of penguins as witnesses of Antarctic contamination. Scientists from the UCM, UMU and the University of Buenos Aires and from institutions such as the CSIC are expected to participate. In addition, a round table will be held among all the speakers and they will reflect on the role of the scientific community in Antarctica.

As Yolanda Segura points out, “Antarctica is a kind of thermometer for pollution in other areas of the planet. This conference wants to show the environmental impact that is generated by the human presence in different ways”, indicates Yolanda Segura, either due to the increasingly fashionable tourist activity, the so-called Antarctic bases, or the research activity itself. For example, the URJC professor points out, “there has been an increase in emerging substances (polluting compounds in small concentrations, such as caffeine and other chemical compounds such as anti-inflammatories and analgesics) that arrive through the discharge of wastewater and the dispersion of waste.

The Conference serves as a continuation of a first edition held at the URJC. In this case it takes place at the UCM and will be of a hybrid nature. For now there are confirmed 80 face-to-face attendances and 20 remotely. A great opportunity to learn about the impact that human beings are causing in one of the few areas of the world that, today, remains almost totally virgin.

Photo: Luis Moreno Merino. Senior Researcher at the Geological and Mining Institute of Spain (IGME-CSIC)