The International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators pledged to turn the tide on plastics with new guidelines set to reduce single-use plastic use among visitors to the White Continent.

The measures were introduced at IAATO’s annual meeting in Cape Town on May 3 as part of the association’s commitment to the UN Environment Clean Seas campaign.

Announced today, World Environment Day, the guidlines encourage visitors to prepare for their journey by avoiding the use of disposable items, such as wet wipes, bottles and razors, and cosmetics containing microbeads, and to continue environmental efforts on their return home.

Part of pre-trip information packs

The new guidelines are available to visitors ahead of the Antarctic travel season, which begins in October. IAATO member operators have been encouraged to distribute the guidelines to travelers as part of their pre-departure packs.

‘IAATO members have been striving to reduce plastic consumption across their operations, from eliminating plastic straws to adding special filters to on-board washing facilities to stop microplastics from ending up in wastewater,’ said Amanda Lynnes, IAATO head of environment and communications. ‘These guidelines are a way of inviting guests to join our efforts, and include plenty of information on ways they can take those positive actions home with them.’