The Faster Freight-Cleaner Air Conference asked the key question: How can fuel emissions from ocean-going vessels be reduced?
People in the business are looking at several ways, starting with a possible shift to cleaner fuels.
One of the culprits in maritime pollution is the residual fuel oil or “bunker fuel” used in ocean-going vessels. Bunker fuel, explains Captain Bill Williams of Copenhagen-based Maersk Shipping, is what’s leftover after oil has been refined. It’s cheap and until recently has been an efficient method of making use of the oil refining byproduct. However, bunker fuel is very high in sulfur dioxide, a dirty pollutant that is part of acid rain, as well as toxic metals such as lead.
Williams, who also was a participant at the conference, notes that his shipping firm Maersk has voluntarily shifted to low-sulfur fuels to combat the emissions issue.
Ocean vessel emissions, says Rupal Patel, director of Communities for Clean Ports, are the No. 1 cause of cancer in port communities. As this country’s busiest port communities, the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles are particularly affected.
Patel notes that in Long Beach alone taxpayers pay $19 billion for health costs caused by emissions from ocean-going vessels. The American Chemical Society’s journal Environmental Science & Technology says that these emissions have caused 60,000 cardiopulmonary and lung cancer deaths each year.
In addition, says Ms. Patel, who also attended the conference, childhood asthma affects 20 percent of children in these port cities; while it only affects eight percent nationwide.<--Previous : : Next Page-->