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Waste and Emissions»Ship Emissions Kill Thousands

»Wednesday, May 6,2009

Cargo Ship Larger ImageA recent study has revealed that approximately 40,000 people a year around Europe are dying prematurely as a result of toxic emissions from ships.
 

Britain is one of the worst affected countries because of the length of our shipping lanes and their distance to the coastline, with particles from ship emissions travelling hundreds of miles, heavily contributing towards heart and lung disease. The research comes at a time when the EU is planning Europe's first low-emissions 'marine zones'.

 

Whilst pollution from shipping has kept under the radar to date, many people believe that regulation and enforcement need to get tough before it is too late. There are an estimated 100,000 cargo ships in operation around the world and it is estimated that they pump as much as half the amount of green house gases into our atmosphere as the worlds cars. Some ships engines are so large that in 1 year they can emit the same amount of pollution as 50 million road vehicles.



Scientists have been aware of the potential problem for over 30 years, but there has been much disagreement as to how big the problem actually is. The results from research performed in the US and Europe are now confirming many people's worst fears. One study released by the European Commission has suggested that ship pollutants shave of several months from the life expectancy of the average European citizen.



Shipping is notoriously difficult to police because vessels can come from anywhere in the world, often with little or no regulation. And to save money, the majority of cargo ships run on poor quality diesel which will emit much higher instances of pollutant compared to diesel that would run a car.

 

One proposal would be for Governments to regulate ships that are permitted to dock in their shores, but there would have to be enough countries involved to enforce this.

 

Many believe that it will take years for the shipping industry to catch up due to the long lifespan of many ships and the fact that everyone made is fairly bespoke, meaning that there are no quick fix solutions like have occured in say the car industry.

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