The Australian Antarctic Division has joined forces with a leading international waste management company in a multi-year effort to fulfill a long-standing commitment by Australia to clean up abandoned waste sites in Antarctica. Under the agreement between the AAD and Collex/Onyx Australia — a subsidiary of French-based Vivendi Environment — Collex will provide 240 purpose-built containers to transport waste collected from Antarctic sites. After their initial use at Australia’s Casey station, the containers will be made available for future work by Australia and other Antarctic nations.
The Collex-provided containers will initially be used to return rubbish from a site near Casey station, called Thala Valley, which for over 20 years through the 1970s and 1980s was the station’s main waste dump. The clean-up follows a two-year study of the site by AAD scientists to determine how best to remove waste from the area without creating further environmental impacts. The study will continue into the clean-up process, monitoring the work and obtaining data for future work at other sites.
The agreement provides for AAD crews at Casey to sort waste and load the containers at the tip site under monitoring by human impacts scientists. The waste will be transported back to Australia for appropriate treatment and disposal by Collex.