It must be little more than one hundred years since humans first set foot on Antarctica and even today few people have visited the frozen and hostile southern continent. Although nine countries have territorial claims on the continent, several of them overlapping, these political disagreements were suspended in The Antarctic Treaty of 1959. In the Treaty (covering all areas south of 60 degrees South Latitude), it was agreed that Antarctica should be used exclusively for peaceful purposes and that military activities would be prohibited. It also guaranteed continued freedom for scientific research and promoted international scientific cooperation.
Antarctica is huge and almost completely unpopulated – only the coastal areas have any animals or vegetation. Well-regulated economic exploitation of its resources need not ruin it.
But a number of scientists and lots of organizations believe that Antarctica has a great scientific value. It should retain its pristine and unspoilt value. There are many reasons why oil and gas exploration should not be allowed in the Antarctic. Proven and probable reserves of oil and gas are still rising faster than global consumption, so there is no economic need to exploit any hypothetical Antarctic sources.
Antarctica must be protected from mineral exploitation, as per the Antarctica Protocol of 1991. There are no known mineral deposits on the continent, so the argument for exploitation is highly speculative. Tourism should be greatly expanded to allow as many people as possible to visit this unique environment. Antarctica should be for all of humanity, not just for an elite few scientists. But the influx of people is greatly increasing the problems of waste management and their activities are having a negative impact on the coastal environment and its wildlife. Hence, Responsible authorities must preserve the unique features of Antarctic and at the same time, make sure that it improves and benefits the Earth.