Action: Remove and clean-up shoreline waste disposal sites
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- One study examined the effects of removing and cleaning-up shoreline waste disposal sites on subtidal benthic invertebrates. The study was in the Southern Ocean (Antarctica).
COMMUNITY RESPONSE (1 STUDY)
- Overall community composition (1 study): One replicated, controlled, before-and-after study in the Southern Ocean found that after removing and cleaning-up a disused waste disposal site, invertebrate community composition changed, and no further negative impacts were detected, but communities remained different to natural sites.
- Overall richness/diversity (1 study): One replicated, controlled, before-and-after study in the Southern Ocean found that after removing and cleaning-up a disused waste disposal site, invertebrate species richness did not change over time and remained different to that of natural sites, but no further negative impacts were detected.
In parts of the world, such as Antarctica, waste has been dumped in landfill sites (and onto sea ice in Antarctica) for lack of better solutions (Stark et al. 2006). The waste disposal sites can be highly contaminated, and when occurring near the coastal zone can negatively affect marine subtidal benthic invertebrates. Removing and cleaning shoreline waste disposal sites can remove the direct source of pollution and threat, and benefit organisms who may naturally recolonize or recover over time (Stark et al. 2014).
Stark J.S., Johnstone G.J. & Riddle M.J. (2014) A sediment mesocosm experiment to determine if the remediation of a shoreline waste disposal site in Antarctica caused further environmental impacts. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 89, 284–295.
Stark J.S., Snape I. & Riddle M.J. (2006) Abandoned Antarctic waste disposal sites: monitoring remediation outcomes and limitations at Casey Station. Ecological Management & Restoration, 7, 21–31.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A replicated, controlled, before-and-after study in 2001–2006 of four sites off Casey Station, Southern Ocean, East Antarctica (Stark et al. 2014) found that over the two years after cleaning-up a shoreline waste disposal site, invertebrate community compositions at two adjacent impacted subtidal sites changed but remained different to that of two further afield natural subtidal sites. However, no additional negative impacts were detected. Invertebrate communities were significantly different at the impacted sites compared to the natural sites, both before and after removal, and changes over time were similar at impacted and natural sites (data reported as graphical analyses). In addition, species richness did not decrease over time at the impacted sites (before: 13–15; after: 12–18 species/sample), and after two years remained lower than at the natural sites (impacted: 16–18; natural: 20–22 species/sample). In 2003–2004, a disused waste disposal site of an Antarctic research station was removed and cleaned-up to comply with the Antarctic Treaty. Two impacted sites (50 and 200 m from the disposal site) and two nearby natural sites (>2 km away) were monitored. Four groups of five trays (34 x 23 x 12 cm; 20 m between groups) filled with sediments without invertebrates were deployed at 7–15 m depth at each site. One year before, one month before, one month after, and two years after the clean-up, invertebrates were sampled from one tray/group/site using a core (10 cm diameter) and extracted (methodology unspecified).