Polar stations became subject of keen interest of law-makers as the most effective manifestation of human activities in Antarctica. Legal procedures governing the establishment and regulations on operation and decommission of Antarctic stations are presented in this paper.
The purpose of the study was to estimate in 2012 range and degree of soil contamination due to local diesel fuel leakage spills that occurred in 1980 and from any subsequent activities in the vicinity of the scientific Polish Polar Station in Hornsund, Svalbard. The area of the study covered the immediate vicinity of station buildings including areas of the 1980’s fuel barrel storage depot and location of current fuel tanks. Results of the study were compared with a similar study performed in 1980. As of 2012, areas potentially contaminated covered 0.9 ha, which was a 50% decrease compared to 1980. The area contaminated with total petroleum hydrocarbons was extremely localized. Spread of petroleum hydrocarbons from 1980’s source of pollution investigated 32 years later showed that petroleum derived products were environmentally mobile. Concentrations of total petroleum hydrocarbons in surface soils of the unsaturated active layer above the permafrost decreased significantly mostly due to surface runoff and dispersion through ephemeral drainages. Concentrations of total petroleum hydrocarbons increased with depth through time in sandy soils on the flat area where the largest 1980’s fuel barrel depot was located.