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Input Pathways of persistent organic pollutants to AntarCTica (ImPACT)

The ImPACT Action Group aims to facilitate coordinated investigation of chemical input to the Antarctic region. This is a policy-driven Action Group which serves both the Global Monitoring Plan of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), as well as the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty (the Madrid Protocol), which explicitly prohibits the importation of chemicals of known risk to Antarctica.

ImPACT monitoring webPersistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) are ubiquitous, toxic, environmental contaminants that have been released through global industry over the past century. Polar Regions act as environmental “sinks” for POPs, which reach these high latitude environments through long-range environmental transport processes, as well as in situ usage.

Today the field of Antarctic POP research faces the challenge of quantifying and forecasting the impact of POP contamination in the region, in the absence of a robust understanding of past or present contaminant input. With 1 million new chemicals registered each year globally, both the magnitude and diversity of chemical contamination reaching the continent are increasing rapidly. This Action Group will target co-ordinated monitoring of four known chemical input pathways:

  1. Atmospheric transport
  2. Hydrospheric transport
  3. In-situ usage
  4. Migratory biota

The Action Group will specifically focus on the following objectives:

  • Co-ordinate current and ongoing research efforts aligned with the Action Group terms of reference, ensuring data collected meets minimum quality assurance requirements for temporal trend collation.
  • Pursue national and multi-national funding strategies for establishment of permanent atmospheric monitoring stations at multiple sites across the continent.
  • Publish collaborative synthesis works arising from coordinated monitoring efforts.
  • Identify avenues for scaffolding of the ImPACT Action Group towards establishment of an Antarctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AnMAP) body.