The Artic

The Artic

Introduction.

The Artic is a region at the upper most
tip of the Northern Hemisphere. The

Artic includes the area around Greenland,

USSR, Canada and Alaska. Much of
the Artic circle is permanently frozen
ice.

The Artic is a pristine environment, clean
and void of human interference.

However as humans move into these areas
and begin to extract what ever they
can be balance can be tipped, resulting
in pollution and destruction of the
environment.

Climate.

The Artic winters much longer than the

Summer. In the winter the sun never
rises and in the summer it never sets.

The average temperature for the

Artic is zero degrees of less.

Industry and the Artic.

There was once a time when the land of
the Artic Circle was considered
useless and only hospitable to those native
to it. However once vast
quantities of oil and fish had been found
there was a rush of interest in
the land.

Fishing in the Artic has occurred for thousands
of years but in recent
years man has been fishing the Artic;
in greater numbers and taking more
fish. Professional fishermen are taking
all kinds of fish as well as whales
and seals. In some areas fishermen have
become so efficient at their job
that quotas have needed to be put on to
limit or stop the capture of
certain animals.

There are many mineral deposits within
the Artic Circle. In Russia: nickel,
iron ore, apatite, diamonds, gold, tin,
coal, mica, and tungsten. In

Sweden: iron ore. In Greenland:
lead, zinc, molybdenum and cryolite.

Spitsbergen: coal. Canada: uranium,
copper, nickel, lead, zinc, tungsten
and iron ore. The digging out of minerals
would inevitably disturb the
natural habitat as well as the environment
there would be a great cost to
maintain the site. Industry that
is designed to process various minerals
have waste products that would be most
unwelcome in the Artic. A good
example of this is the pollution that
has arisen as a result of the
smelting of metals in the Artic. It is
for this reason that there is very
little industry in the Artic. However

Russia, Canada, Greenland and Iceland
have several small scale manufacturing
plants.

The largest industry in the Artic is oil.

The rush began in 1968 when a
large oil field was discovered, there
was a great deal of protest but the
development went ahead.

Oil extracted from the felid makes its
way to Port Valdez via a 1300
kilometre pipeline. Although steps were
taken to limit the pipelines affect
on the environment it still disrupts the
migration of caribou.

In 1989 the unthinkable happened and the
super tanker Exxon Valdez ran
aground spilling millions of gallons of
crude oil into the Prince William

Sound.

The effects of the slick were devastating.

Within a week workers counted

24000 dead sea birds and 1000 sea otters.

The effects of the slick were
felt throughout the food chain from photoplankton
to bears. The Exxon
company funded the clean up but there
was no compensation for the hundreds
of people that lost their job as a result
of the slick.

Pollution of the Artic

A large threat to the Artic is transboundry
pollution and bioaccumulation.

These are both complex subjects but are
easily explained. Transboundry
pollution is the pollution of the Artic
from other countries. The ocean
currents and wind conditions result in
large amounts of pollution being
deposited in the Artic. In winter when
the sun is low thick blankets of
haze can be seen over the Artic. Bioaccumulation
is the process where
pollutants build up in the Artic because
they cannot be broken down due to
the extreme cold. Once harsh chemicals
find their way into the food chain
they stay there forever, trapped in the
animals and sediments.

A result of increased pollutants in the
atmosphere is the occurrence of
acid rain. Sulphur and Nitrogen dioxides
drift from developed countries and
when they mix with water in the atmosphere
they can produce acid rain as
strong as lemon juice. The acid snow melts
in summer and spring producing
an acid shock that can kill animals and
plants alike.

In 1986 the nuclear reactor in Chernoybl
exploded sending a nuclear cloud
into the atmosphere that among other places
contaminated plants and animals
in the Artic region. Particularly affected
were lichens, lichens are a
plant that makes up the majority of a
reindeers\' diet. When the reindeers
ate the lichens they became radioactive
and many thousands had to be shot.

Tourism vs conservation.

In the battle between tourism and conservation,
tourism seems to always win.

However in the Artic tourism has so far
had little effect (compared to
other human activity) on the environment.

The scenery and wild life of the

Artic are seen as so special that people
pay thousands of dollars for a
small glimpse of the Artic.

It is believed by many that Artic tourism
will spread a general concern for
the environment. There is no denying that
if tourism is not controlled
people will destroy what they have come
to see. Tourism will alway clash
with