Britain: Protests against Arctic shipping pollution

February 20, 2020

Environmental campaigners are calling for urgent action to cut pollution in the Arctic from the global shipping industry.

As delegates, representing governments from around the world and the shipping industry, arrived for an International Maritime Organization meeting in London, they came face to face with activists urging them to act now to protect the fragile arctic marine environment.

The activists created a dynamic "Arctic crime scene" outside the iconic IMO building. Others held banners that read: “Dirty ship fuels are climate crimes” and “IMO: Protect the Arctic, Ban dirty fuels”.

arctic crime 1 .jpeg

Photo: Matt Mellen/
Photo: Matt Mellen/

Performers created an Arctic climate crime scene with white chalk outlines of Arctic animals, attended by black-clad funeral mourners.

A smoking cargo ship art installation was trailed by thick black “oil”. A stranded polar bear, its habitat threatened by climate change, perched upon a melting iceberg sculpture, while a 10 metre-long banner deployed along the wall of the Thames read “Dirty ship fuels destroy the Arctic”.


Photo: Matt Mellen/

Matt Mellen, an activist with online magazine Ecohustler said: “It’s crazy that these dirty, dangerous fuels are allowed anywhere. But to use them somewhere as fragile and precious as the Arctic beggars belief.

“The Arctic is changing faster than anywhere due to climate change — and what happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic. If world governments are serious about protecting this fragile environment, it can bring about a ban during this week’s meeting.”


Photo: Matt Mellen/

Roc Sandford, from Extinction Rebellion UK, said: “Climate Change is already causing fires and floods around the world. This is an emergency, there are no good excuses for not acting now.

“We’re protesting here to make sure the delegates at this summit see what is at stake. We urge them to act to cut emissions and protect the environment.”


Photo: Matt Mellen/

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