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South Georgia - Cleaning Up Antarctica

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During January - February 2006, a clean-up team led by the BAS Environmental Office safely removed more than 800m³ of demolition waste from the old Bird Island station, as well as the abandoned BAS huts, reindeer exclosure fences and former work sites on South Georgia at Carlita Bay, Johnson Beach, Moltke Harbour, Hound Bay, Husvik, Tønsburg Point, Ocean Harbour, Sørling Valley and Schleiper Bay. Most of these field-sites were established by BAS during the 1970's and 1980's, and had not been visited since.

In their dilapidated condition, the huts and exclosures posed a risk to the island's fauna. Before demolition could start, hazardous substances (including asbestos, formaldehyde, batteries and adhesives) were removed for safe disposal. The eight operational BAS huts on South Georgia were also inspected, and hazardous substances removed.

The clean-up was undertaken by BAS with the assistance of a small team from Morrison, under the existing partnering agreement. RRS Ernest Shackleton served as the platform for the clean-up, and proved to be an excellent support vessel for environmental operations at remote coastal locations.

By cleaning up our legacy on South Georgia, BAS has demonstrated its commitment to the long-term environmental protection of the island.