The (Horrendous) Shipping News

I used to get discouraged when I read the news because of politicians.Now I get discouraged because of them and all the horrible environmental news.

Here’s the headline of the day: “Ship pollution kills 60,000 yearly: Study“. You may think 60,000 isn’t all that much, except that most of them are on the West Coast — where I live.

The damage comes from the sulphur-laden Bunker C fuel that powers the growing number of ships conducting global trade.

The sludgy fuel is “basically the dregs of the oil refining process,” and contains nearly 2,000 times as much sulphur as the diesel fuel burned in trucks in North America and Europe, says David Marshall, of the Clean Air Task Force, one of the groups that commissioned the study.

And as usual, the really hair-whitening stuff is snuck into the middle of the story.

  • The annual number of premature deaths from all outdoor air pollution is estimated to be about 800,000 (and that’s only humans)
  • Without a clean up, the global total is expected to hit 84,000 within five years
  • “At the International Marine Organization, seagoing nations have been negotiating for the past 15 years on new air pollution standards, Marshall said. To date, the talks have only produced regulations that amount to business as usual.”
  • 70 per cent of emissions occur within 400 kilometres of land

Color me depressed. Or maybe it’s just that weird color one’s face turns from inhaling sulphur.


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