Greenpeace Protesters Board Car Carrier
Greenpeace protesters have boarded K-Line’s 23,498-tonne Elbe Highway car carrier as it arrived in the Thames Estuary in the U.K on Thursday.
They hung a banner from 27-meter high unloading door calling on Volkswagen to take its "toxic cars" back to Germany. Additionally, over 40 volunteers scaled the fences at Sheerness Port in Kent – the intended destination of the ship – and gained access to the vehicle park, where several thousand VW cars are awaiting distribution. They are attempting to remove the cars' keys and posting labels on the engines calling on Volkswagen to ditch diesel.
The German car giant imports tens of thousands of vehicles through Sheerness, one of Britain’s largest car ports, every year. The company was caught cheating on emissions tests two years ago.
Globally, air pollution is ranked as a bigger threat to human health than ebola and HIV, with it having the biggest impact on the elderly and children, says Greenpeace. Air pollution across the U.K. is now being called a public health emergency and has been breaking legal safety limits every year since 2010. A Greenpeace investigation showed that over 1,000 nurseries across the U.K. are in areas close to illegal levels of air pollution. This means thousands of toddlers could be exposed to potentially irreversible impacts of air pollution on their health, with diesel vehicles producing at least 80 percent of the air pollution coming from streets.
Earlier this year, Volvo announced that it will stop creating cars run solely on diesel. Within two years, the company will only make cars fully or partly powered by batteries. “If you couple this decision with the huge progress eco-superstar Elon Musk has made with Tesla, other car companies are beginning to run out of excuses,” says Greenpeace.