Pesticide residues persist even in pristine Antarctica.

A recent article in the Antarctic Sun looked at research that demonstrated the longevity of pesticides in the environment. Even in this pristine ecosystem the pesticide DDT is still being found “at consistent levels” in the tissues of Adelie penguins of Antarctica. This is even though their use was abandoned or at the least restricted since the seventies. Researchers think that the pesticide has been locked into the glaciers of the continent and enters the penguin populations through the melt water from these glaciers when it reaches coastal areas. It is a salutary thought that even in such pristine environments the effects of pollutants can linger into the future in the form of pesticide residues.

If these remote populations can continue to be affected by the pesticide use so long ago, we should be concerned about the increase in use of new generation pesticides in agriculture and the home garden today, and how we and our immediate environment are being affected.

For more information on the research read the article in full at the link here. There are many other interesting articles on the polar regions in the Antarctic Sun.


A colony of Adelie penguins on Humble Island near the Antarctic Peninsula. The buildings of Palmer Station can be seen in the background. Palmer Station sits on Anvers Island at 64° 46′ S, 64° 03′ W.

A colony of penguins.

Photograph by: Jeffrey Kietzmann, National Science Foundation. Date Taken: February 2003.

~ by abstraktbiblos on Monday, 9 June, 2008.

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