Developing policies that safeguard the Arctic and promote Inuit rights is a priority of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference (ICC). Working with the United Nations and other international forums, the organization represents some 155,000 Inuit living in Canada, Alaska, Greenland, Russia, and Scandinavia. In 2001, the ICC was instrumental in 151 countries signing the Stockholm Convention to reduce and eventually eliminate certain persistent organic pollutants (POPs), including chlordane, DDT, and other pesticides, industrial chemicals such as PCBs, and combustion by-products such as dioxins.
Although POPs have never been used or manufactured in the Arctic, tests show high levels of DDT, PCBs, dioxins, and other POPs in Inuit blood, lipid tissue, and breast milk samples. This happens because POPs travel long distances on air and in water, return to earth in precipitation, and enter the food chain. Accumulations are especially high in whales and seals, the traditional Inuit diet. Pregnant and nursing mothers in the Arctic are now advised to avoid marine mammals and fat, and to replace them with caribou meat and arctic char, which are low in POPs.
“The far North” is a clickable polar-projection map of the Arctic Ocean that lets viewers zoom in on any part of it they wish, and move around easily.