Friday, May 17, 2013
Barrel blown away and the philosophical dilemma of what to do with waste on the ice sheet
We just got a txt message from the group that experienced the wind suddenly calming... When emerging to survey their snow-drifted camp, an empty fuel drum was missing and is presumed blown away.
I've seen old rusty discarded or lost barrels on the inland ice. It's of course not a pleasant site nor is losing a barrel a positive thing. For one, the barrel's are not cheap. But it raises an interesting philosophical dilemma. Do you leave behind your trash in the accumulation area of the ice sheet where it will become buried for perhaps many thousands of years, doing practically no no environmental harm? Or do you spend fuel, time, energy returning waste to the coast where it is burned in an open pit fire? Well, of course, a barrel would be reused, sparing the cost (environmental and otherwise) of replacement. But what about spent flashlight batteries? I've seen colleagues argue hotly on Greenland ice taking opposing sides with this dilemma. In my case, I pack out all my trash, but just to be burned open pit?
What's your opinion?