China is setting up its first Antarctic Specially Protected Area (ASPA), near the Grove Mountains on the South Pole, in an effort to protect the rare glaciated and wind-erosion landform in the region from harmful human activity, China Ocean News reports.
The 12 km-long, 10 km wide area straddling Mount Harding in the middle of the Grove Mountains in East Antarctica, and is 400 km from the country's Zhongshan Station.
The area guards invaluable glacial and geological phenomena, crucial to scientific research, from destructive human activity.
Work teams from other countries and regions assigned to the APSA are required to obtain permits.
"The setting up of the area demonstrates China's resolve and capacity to live up to its environmental protection responsibilities in the area around its research station," Qu Tanzhou, director of Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Administration under State Oceanic Administration, said.
The plan was passed at the 31st Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting from June 2 to June 10, according to the Xinhua News Agency.
The concept of setting aside areas for special protection was introduced in 1964, when the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Parties adopted the Agreed Measures for the Conservation of Antarctic flora and fauna.
Fourteen countries under the Antarctic Treaty have since established 70 areas of such kind and seven specially-managed areas on the Antarctic pole.
China, together with Australia, India, Romania and Russia, set up an Antarctic specially managed area on Larsemann Hills, East Antarctica last year.