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Shipping industry struggles with pollution

Shipping industry struggles with pollution

Shipping industry struggles with pollution
November 28, 2007

Pollution is a rising concern for the cargo shipping industry which carries more than 90% of the world’s merchandise by volume, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Sulfur dioxide emissions from global shipping are greater than those from all of the world’s cars, trucks and buses combined, while the industry’s smog-causing nitrogen-oxide emissions account for 27 percent of the world total, according to the International Council on Clean Transportation.

This pollution — and the associated costs to society (the American Chemical Society’s journal Environmental Science & Technology estimates that underregulated air pollution from ships causes 60,000 cardiopulmonary and lung-cancer deaths annually) — has triggered local authorities to mandate the use of cleaner-burning fuels as ships cruise near ports. Seeking uniformity among the varying standards between different countries and ports, some of the industry’s largest firms have proposed a single, binding limit on sulfur emissions in all oceans.

Nevertheless, “the global shipping industry is mired in an internal struggle over how to cope with its emissions problem, and no simple strategies have emerged for regulating the open seas,” writes author Bruce Stanley.

Concerns are expected to grow as shipping expands: “At current rates of growth, oceangoing ships will generate 53% of the particulates, 46% of the nitrogen oxides and more than 94% of the sulfur oxides emitted by all forms of transportation in the U.S. by 2030, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates. That compares with levels for the same pollutants in 2001 of 17%, 12% and 49%, respectively, according to the EPA.”

Ships Draw Fire For Rising Role In Air Pollution [subscription may be required]

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