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Zentralbl Hyg Umweltmed. 1992 Mar;192(6):554-8.

Observations on an accidental case of raw sewage pollution in Antarctica.

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  • 1University of the West Indies, Department of Experimental Zoology and Electron Microscopy, Mona-Campus, Kingston, Jamaica.


The effects of an accidental exposure to saltwater polluted by human wastes on aquarium populations of a variety of Antarctic organisms are described. Only the giant Antarctic slater Glyptonotus antarcticus survived the exposure to the contaminated water unharmed. A comparative analysis of water qualities revealed that total nitrogen and phosphorus levels of the contaminated sample were 15 and 19.5 times higher than those of the control and that the contaminated sample contained high amounts of coliform bacteria, whereas the latter were not identified in the control. Considering the widespread practice in Antarctica of disposing of raw sewage into the sea, the dearth of knowledge concerning the biological impact of such behaviour is seen as worrysome.

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