A Fragile Environment : Scientists warn that the rise in tourism also increases the risk of disrupting the fragile environment.

The introduction of invasive species - nonnative crabs or mussels clinging to the hull of a ship, foreign plant seeds stuck to the lining of a tourist parka, remains an ever-present threat.

There is also evidence that populations of penguins and other wildlife have been disturbed by human activity in some areas.

At the popular Hannah Point, there have been two reported instances of elephant seals falling off a cliff because of visitor disturbance. At other sites, structures have been marred by graffiti.

The treaty parties have drawn up ''site visitor guidelines'' for 42 of the most popular landing sites.

These govern things like where ships are allowed to land, where visitors are allowed walk and how many landings are allowed per day.

But the tour operators association website lists more than 100 landing sites on Antarctic Peninsula. Those with no guidelines in place may become more popular as tour operators try to avoid the crowds.

Pollution from ships is another concern. Although the International Maritime Organization's polar code introduced another measures to control pollution, it still allows ships to dump raw sewage into the ocean if they are more than 12 nautical miles roughly 13.8 miles, away from the nearest ice shelf or ''fast ice'', stationary sea ice attached to the continent or grounded icebergs.

It also fails to regulate discharges of ''graywater'', runoff from ships', shower and laundries that has been shown to contain high levels of fecal coliform, as well as other pathogens and pollutants.

Concerns about pollution are perhaps all the more worrying, given the arrival of Princess Cruise Lines, which - alongside its parent company, Carnival Corporation - has been heavily fined for committing serious environmental crimes in other parts of the world.   
''It's important to understand that all of these impacts - climate change, fishing, tourism, - are cumulative..'' Cassandra Brooks, an assistant professor in environmental studies at the University of Colorado, wrote in an email.

''Given the sheer carbon footprint of the Antarctic tourism, and the rapid growth in the industry, these operations will become increasingly difficult to justify.''

The honor and Serving of the latest global operational research on Antarctic Tourism and environmental risk, continues. The World Students Society thanks, author Paige Mcclanahan.


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