World Press Photo award for oil spill photographer

Feature Story - 14 February, 2011
Lu Guang, a photographer commissioned by Greenpeace China, has taken third place in the ‘spot news’ section at the World Press Photo awards – arguably the most prestigious photojournalism competition in the world.

Lu Guang, commissioned by Greenpeace photographs the Dalian oil spill.

As far as we're aware, this is the first time a non-government organisation has won a  'spot news' (breaking news) award. While we are proud of this award, we also humbly remember and honour the tragic circumstances the photographs were taken in.

The pictures taken by Lu Guang were of the Dalian oil spill in July 2010. Soon after the Gulf of Mexico disaster, China suffered the harrowing loss of Zhang Liang, a 25-year-old fire fighter who was working to clear a pump after the Dalian oil spill. During the spill, our colleagues in China were quick to document and assess the gravity of the oil spill. The spill continues to have devastating effects on the local environment and fishing industry, and of course, on the lives of those terribly affected.

The award is testament to the importance of bearing witness to and exposing the true cost of environmental destruction. It is a reminder of the reckless and destructive nature of deep sea oil drilling. We use this opportunity to, once again, urge the world to go beyond oil and to honour Zhang Liang for putting his life on the line.