Cruise ship near Antarctica

Less than a third of Antarctica remains untouched by humans

An Antarctic cruise in 2007

imageBROKER / Alamy

Less than a third of Antarctica is still entirely pristine and free from direct human influence, according to an analysis that scientists say shows the need for greater environmental protections in the remote region.

Scientific research on the continent ramped up in the 1950s, but in recent years human activity has accelerated further, with more researchers visiting to better understand the region’s impact on global sea level rise. Cruises to Antarctica are growing too: before the coronavirus pandemic, around 50,000 tourists had been expected to visit this year.

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