Canada Planes to Monitor Arctic for Ship Pollution
OTTAWA Canadian spotter planes will for the first time start monitoring Arctic waters for illegal discharges of waste by ships which could damage the region's delicate environment, officials said Tuesday.
As part of an experiment, the aircraft, which currently monitor ice conditions in the North, will look for signs of pollution from ships until the end of October, when the waters freeze.
"We have observed an increase in shipping and oil drilling and exploration activities in the past few years," Environment Minister Stephane Dion said in a statement.
Officials fear that an oil spill in the Arctic could have catastrophic effects on the environment, in part because the region's remoteness means it would take a long time to send help to the affected area.
Canada will decide whether to repeat the Arctic patrols next summer once the data from this year's experiment has been studied.
Canada already conducts aerial pollution surveys over major shipping routes in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, throughout the Gulf of St. Lawrence and in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River system.