Friday, October 26, 2012

Slower cargo ships mean less pollution

Pollution comes from a variety of sources including the cargo ships. Ships are big sources of air pollution because many of them use fuel rich with sulfur, and sulfur dioxide is one of the most harmful air pollutants, one that also contributes to acid rain formation. Other notable air pollutants connected with shipping are carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide.


The U.S. scientists from the University of California believe that this issue can be tackled by introducing speed limits on cargo shipping when they sail near ports and coastlines. They have calculated that the introduction of speed limits would reduce the levels of air pollution associated with marine shipping by as much as 70%.

Marine traffic is constantly growing and most engines on these ships burn low-grade oil that is associated with many harmful air pollutants. Both fuel consumption, as well as the amount of emissions, increases with higher speeds thus reducing the speed of these vessels is certainly a logical step to cut pollution.

Limiting ship speeds means reducing air pollution

Slowing container ships to about 14 miles per hour reduces emissions of carbon dioxide by about 60 percent and nitrogen oxides by 55 percent in comparison to emissions at traditional cruising speeds of 25-29 mph. There are even bigger reduction is soot emissions, by more than 70%.

The scientific proof is there and now it is up to regulatory bodies to come up with the adequate policy. Reducing air pollution isn't only beneficiary for our environment but most importantly for our health as air pollution often leads to different respiratory diseases such as asthma, and can even cause cancer.

What this means is that slowing ships means reducing their levels of air pollution and with it protecting the health of all people living in those areas. We mustn't forget that exhaust emissions from ships account to 18-30% of all nitrogen oxide and 9% of sulfur oxide pollution.

The current shipping laws are still inadequate to deal with the air pollution issue. This will hopefully soon change as slowing ships seems to be a very easy solution to fix this.

1 comment:

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