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Tourism harmful to Norwegian Arctic environment
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Norwegian scientists and researchers are warning against the harmful effects on the Arctic environment by the increasing number of tourists visiting Svalbard in Norway, according to reports from Oslo Friday.

Svalbard is an archipelago in the Arctic Ocean, between Norway and the North Pole. This summer cruise ships carrying more than 30, 000 tourists will be visiting there. The researchers consider that the cruise ships release greenhouse gases which affect the vulnerable Arctic environment on Svalbard, Norwegian daily The Norway Post reported.

Gunnar Jorfall, director of the Norwegian Institute for Air Research, said monitoring showed that the fragile nature in the Arctic was suffering under the increasing tourist traffic. A reduction of this traffic would also reduce the negative effects on the climate more quickly, he added.

A global seed vault in the Norwegian Arctic region was also opened in Svalbard on Feb. 26. At the opening ceremony, Norwegian Prime Minister Stoltenberg said it was necessary to build the seed vault for the world's biological diversity.

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is designed to store duplicates of seeds from seed collections from around the globe. If seeds are lost as a result of climate change, natural disasters, war or simply a lack of resources, the seed collections may be re-established using seeds from Svalbard.

(Xinhua News Agency June 30, 2008)

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