Published: Friday 15 July 2005

-- Amajor breakthrough has been achieved in the efforts to tackle environmental emergencies in Antarctica. At the 28th conference on the Antarctica Treaty, which concluded in Stockholm, Sweden on June 17, 2005, around 300 experts finalised after 13-14 years of negotiations a "liability annex" to the existing Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty. The new rule ensures that any party causing an environmental accident in the frozen continent cleans up the pollution and prevents further damage. It also provides for compensation from the polluter in case another party does the job.

Delegates agreed that if timely action is not taken after an accident, the guilty party will have to deposit money equivalent to the clean-up cost into an environmental protection fund, which will finance future clean-up operations. The meet also discussed the management of tourism in the continent.

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