CAMPAIGNERS have been out on the streets of Portsmouth over the weekend to raise awareness over dangers to the Antarctic Ocean.
Portsmouth Greenpeace was joined in Commercial Road by a number of ‘penguins’ as part of a national campaign to create the world’s largest protected area, in order to preserve the environment and the species that inhabit the area.
The penguins danced by the fountain for the amusement of the passing public, while also making people aware of the group’s national campaign.
The day of campaigning, which saw activists brave the wet weather, coincided with Penguin Awareness Day.
If Greenpeace’s campaign is a success, the Antarctic Ocean would become a sanctuary, with the goal of preserving life within it.
The Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary would be the largest protected area on earth, covering 1.8 million square kilometres of ocean.
According to Greenpeace, the waters would be off-limits to industrial fishing vessels, protecting species such as krill to sustain the ecosystem as a whole.
A report from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) identifies five species of penguin as endangered, with a further five species being labelled as vulnerable.
Greenpeace volunteer James Sebley said: ‘People need to understand the importance of the oceans for the planet’s wellbeing.
‘Healthy oceans mean we also have a healthy planet.
‘The ecosystem in the Antarctic is vital in tackling climate change and we want the UK government to support an ocean sanctuary as industrial practices would certainly threaten the delicate ecosystem that exists there.
‘I hope people in our community help us make history.
‘We need people to sign the Greenpeace petition and join people around the world to create the world’s largest protected area.’
The preservation of oceans has been a long-standing focal point for Portsmouth Greenpeace.
In 2016 the group warned residents about not eating sustainable tuna – with unsustainable fishing methods harming the ocean’s ecosystem.
Last year the group’s focus was on plastics, with concerns rising about the amount of plastic drifting out to sea.
For more information and to sign the petition, go to secure.greenpeace.org.uk/page/s/antarctic.