During the Antarctic season 1996/97 a beach debris survey was carried out on the beaches of Cape Shirrefl Livingston Island, South Shetland Islands, where a total of 1 609 articles with a total of 49.03 Kg were obtained. Besides, from a neighbouring area of Cape Shirreff, were collected 178 plastic pieces to avoid that tllis material may enter the CEMP Site during storms and windy weather. As it occurred in all previous seasons with monitoring activities, plastic was the principal item (1517 pieces) with a 94.30/.), followed by glass (67) with a 4.20/0; metal (19 pieces) 1.20/0; and paper (6 pieces) 0,40/0. Of the plastic items, those used in fisheries (strapping bands 207, ropes 205, and net pieces 9) were 421 articles. The total density of marine debris collected on the site has increased from 0.65 articles/m2 in 1993/94 to 1.02 in 1994/95, 1.52 in 1995/96, and diminished to 0.46 in 1996/97. For the first time it was observed an important presence of pieces (708) of expanded polyestirene (PE) with a 46.70/0 with respect to the total figure of 1517 plastic articles collected. This situation led us to think that this material may proceed from logistic operations, because many of those pieces present cavities similar to those provided to protect some electronic apparatus. This is a fact against to Annex V of the Protocol, and to the Code of Conduct prepared by SCAR, because it is forbiden to take into the Convention area this kind of synthetic material. Several plastic pieces (15) show evidence of having been partially burnt. This situation provides the possibility to infer that the ashes produced in incinerators may also have been disposed into the sea, as it was reported in previous seasons. If so, this is a continuous proof of an action contrary to the international agreements related to protection of the sea and its biota.
Some plastic fibres continue to appear in some nests of Larus domini can us, and Chionis alba. Two specimens of Arc/ocephalus gazeJla were seen entangled with plastic fibres, which were removed from the animals after being immobilized with a piece of net obtained from the stranded garbage. It is expected that the new and complementary activities to the Conservation Measures adopted by CCAMLR, such as teaching and didactic material to be prepared for crews of several kind of ships which operate in the Southern Ocean and adjacent waters, may have a positive effect in the diminishing of the impact caused by man-made marine debris. As a future intenlational issue, related to the protection and conservation of the sea and the biota to be kept in mind by shipbuilders and naval engineers, it is proposed to include in the working drawing an specific and adequate hold of a ship in which the classified garbage produced on board can be stored, with the respective compartments with the international colour for plastic, glass, cans, paper, and other kinds of clean debris, with the purpose of being disembarked in all international ports, especially in those with an adequate infrastructure to receive that kind of waste. Meanwhile, it is suggested that the present companies and owners of the Antarctic fleets and ships, make an effort to accomodate on board an specific container to store the garbage produced in order to desembark it adequately in each port, if possible, outside the Convention area. The amount of garbage produced and disembarked would be a matter to be included in the repsective logbooks.