Remembering the Arctic’s most traumatic tanker spill
Oily rocks glisten in the sun following the Exxon Valdez disaster - Green lsland (Prince William Sound, Alaska) July 4, 1989
Today marks the 25th anniversary of an oil spill in Alaska that alerted the world to the dangers of oil development in the Arctic. The holed Exxon Valdez tanker spewed more than 41 million litres of oil into Prince William Sound. It killed wildlife along a vast stretch of shoreline, and crippled local fishing industries. The area's herring stock has still not recovered. On the 20th anniversary, WWF dug up some of the still-oily gravel from the shoreline where the oil spilled, and presented it to US lawmakers as a reminder that more needs to be done to protect the Arctic from oil spills.
“The Arctic is still under-protected from oil spills,” says Alexander Shestakov of WWF’s Global Arctic Programme. “We have neither the technology nor the capacity to effectively clean up oil spills in icy waters, and we have not protected areas key to local livelihoods and Arctic ecosystems. New drilling in the Arctic is unacceptable due to the level of risk and the need to urgently address climate change.”