Shipping Pollution Causes Health Hazards

April 15, 2009 / 1 Comment

Some confidential data from maritime industry insiders (based on engine size and the quality of fuel typically used by ships and cars) shows that just 15 of the world’s biggest ships may now emit as much pollution as the entire 760m cars on world’s roads today. And it’s not just an environmental issue, but also a health problem for people exposed to shipping pollution.

enormous cargo ship Shipping Pollution Causes Health HazardsImage by akpt

Following the recent decision by the US government to impose a strict 230-mile buffer zone along the entire US coast, pressure is now mounting on the UN’s International Maritime Organization and the EU to tighten laws governing ships emissions.

With low-quality fuel being used to cut on costs, the pollution from the 90,000 ocean-going cargo ships that operate 24 hours a day and 280 days a year is so huge that it puts the combined pollution from both aviation and auto industry to shame. Apparently coastal pollution leads to about 60,000 deaths a year in the US alone and sums up to $330 bn in health costs.

So will the emission standards for marine carriers across the planet be set anytime soon? Looks unlikely for now, isn’t it? [via Guardian]