Arctic Wildlife Deserve Oil-Free Waters
We hear a lot about how melting sea ice is changing the Arctic. Animals that rely on the ice to hunt, like walruses and polar bears, are increasingly at risk. In turn, people who have called the Arctic home for generations are finding it harder to maintain the subsistence way of life.
Melting ice also means more and more vessels are able to access and travel through the Arctic’s frigid waters. An increase in vessel traffic might not seem like a big deal, especially because we know ships travel around the world every day. But in the unpredictable waters of the Arctic, more vessels could lead to catastrophic consequences.
Increased vessel traffic in the Arctic means a greater risk of oil pollution in the region. And we’re talking about some really dirty stuff. The most common fuel used by large vessels in the Arctic is heavy fuel oil (HFO) and associated blends—the world’s dirtiest fuel.
We do NOT want this pollution in Arctic waters—harming the ecosystem and threatening wildlife like seabirds, walruses and seals.
If spilled, HFO remains in the environment for a very long time, and it is nearly impossible to clean it all up. Moreover, when ships burn HFO in their engines, they emit black carbon, a harmful pollutant that contributes to the rapid warming of the Arctic region. The International Maritime Organization recently drafted a ban on the use of HFO, a step we commend. However, the proposed ban includes loopholes and delays in implementation. As it currently stands, the ban would not take effect until 2024 for some ships, and 2029 for most ships! The good news is, there is still room to strengthen the ban—and that is where we really need your help to take action and speak up today.
Take action today!
We need to tell regulators to make the HFO ban stronger to protect Arctic wildlife that depend on oil-free waters.