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Special Report: Cargo From Davis

I will finish the story of our Davis operation by telling you about the cargo we are bringing out of Davis for Return to Australia (the expedition people call this RTA).

Well from Davis we have 1000 cubic metres, 210 tonnes of stuff.

In amongst this are -

  • some plant items for disposal or refurbishment - an engine, an Excavator, a cement mixer, a compressor, a JCB Loadall, a small truck, a utility or ‘pick-up’ truck
  • empty gas bottles (LPG for cooking but also gases which might have been used for scientific work, in the medical area or in fire suppression systems and so on)
  • assorted surplus items for sale/disposal, repair, eg meat slicer, audio speaker, locks, gas detectors, aneroid barometer, computers, printers, toner cartridges, filing cabinet, mattresses, chairs, vehicle tailgate, tyres, wheels, sewerage pump, sealants
  • personal effects for people who have spent the winter at Davis (it is easier to get the bulk of this out on this voyage than on the one which will bring the people home)
  • but there is more and, perhaps for this note, the more significant - in one word - RUBBISH

Australia has very strict rules now for the disposal of waste from Antarctica - and the rules are not just ours or the Australian Government’s, they are rules which were established by the Madrid Protocol (Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty) which is an international convention made in 1991 by the countries which are part of the Antarctic Treaty System. For the students amongst you a search of the web will be a good exercise - find out more about this Protocol and the Antarctic Treaty System. To give effect to the Treaty, Australia passed its own laws - amending the Antarctic Treaty (Environment Protection) Act 1980.

So what rubbish have we brought back and is it all jumbled up?

We brought back a LOT of rubbish and it’s mainly divided up into types which make for recycling or other orderly disposal. We have - cardboard, different types of glass (crushed), different types of plastics, batteries, paint, different metals, assorted liquid wastes (chemicals, oils etc), incinerator ash (from the combustion of burnables in a high temperature incinerator), 44 gallon (200 litre) drums - which had contained petrol, aviation kerosene etc, expired foodstuffs. In all - our rubbish adds up to about 107 tonnes (including the weights of the containers we are using for transport). It is an expensive business bringing all this rubbish back to Australia but it means that we continue to maintain the pristine nature of the Antarctic environment and as well recycle most of that waste - just as we all do back home.

Talk to you again soon.



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