What’s in Antarctica stays in Antarctica

Under the Swedish Antarctic Act (2006:924), the removal of orga­nic and inorganic materials is prohibited. These materials include:

  • plants
  • animals
  • bones
  • stones
  • eggs
  • seeds
  • minerals
  • meteorites
  • metals
  • pieces of buildings

A prohibition also applies to the introduction of foreign organic and inorganic materials. Carving or painting rocks, stones, and buildings and changing or destroying them in any other way, is also prohibited.

Leave no trace

Antarctica’s ecosystems are highly sensitive to pollutants, as decomposition processes proceed slowly in the region. The human footprint must be minimised to protect and preserve this unique environment and enable research in Antarctica’s relati­vely untouched ecosystems. Leaving waste behind in Antarctica is consequently prohibited, as is openly burning waste. Certain non-hazardous materials can be burned in exceptional cases, but only in special incinerators. These waste regulations apply to all of Antarctica, i.e., on land, on ice, and at sea. 

The Swedish Antarctic Act (2006:924) provides that anything brought into Antarctica must also be taken out again.

  • Waste that cannot or may not be burned in an incinerator must be taken out of Antarctica, and this applies to human waste as well. Each visitor is personally responsible for waste removal.
  • Waste must be packaged and stored in such a way that it cannot be spread by wind or animals.
  • Smoking is permitted only in designated areas since the risk of fire in Antarctica is high. Under applicable law, cigarette butts and ash may not be left behind, but must be taken out of Antarctica.
  • Bathing and washing or rinsing gear in watercourses is not allowed.
  • Bringing in or leaving radioactive waste in Antarctica is prohibited.