| ||There are no traces of ancient civilizations in Antarctica—no ruins eroded by time and weather, for this is a continent where human beings have never permanently settled. Since the 1950s several countries have set up scientific bases, which today number 35. The biggest of these, which is occupied all year round (1,200 people in summer, 200 in winter) is the American McMurdo base, at the foot of the volcano Erebus. This little polar town, unique in Antarctica, is rather like an Alaskan mining town, with its own church, two bars, a hospital, a bank, a post office, dormitories, and a hydroponic greenhouse for lettuce, tomatoes, and flowers. Here at the end of the world there is even a bowling alley. But McMurdo is also one of the most polluted ports in the world, due to residual.
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