Six Thousand Times as much Pollution as All the Cars in the World.

By | January 4, 2010

Tankers moored at Lyme Bay, DevonDid you know that just 16 large sea going cargo ships can produce as much pollution as all the world’s cars. Think about that! There are 100,000 of these ships on the sea! And none are restricted from burning dirty sulphur laden fuel oil that is not allowed as fuel by others. And that means they produce 6,250 times as much pollution as ALL the cars in the world!

via The River Journal – Six Thousand Times as much Pollution as All the Cars in the World..

… it burns marine heavy fuel, or ‘bunker fuel’, which leaves behind a trail of potentially lethal chemicals: sulphur and smoke that have been linked to breathing problems, inflammation, cancer and heart disease.
James Corbett, of the University of Delaware, is an authority on ship emissions. He calculates a worldwide death toll of about 64,000 a year, of which 27,000 are in Europe. Britain is one of the worst-hit countries, with about 2,000 deaths from funnel fumes. Corbett predicts the global figure will rise to 87,000 deaths a year by 2012.

Part of the blame for this international scandal lies close to home.

In London, on the south bank of the Thames looking across at the Houses of Parliament, is the International Maritime Organisation, the UN body that polices the world’s shipping.

For decades, the IMO has rebuffed calls to clean up ship pollution. As a result, while it has long since been illegal to belch black, sulphur-laden smoke from power-station chimneys or lorry exhausts, shipping has kept its licence to pollute.

For 31 years, the IMO has operated a policy agreed by the 169 governments that make up the organisation which allows most ships to burn bunker fuel.

Christian Eyde Moller, boss of the DK shipping company in Rotterdam, recently described this as ‘just waste oil, basically what is left over after all the cleaner fuels have been extracted from crude oil. It’s tar, the same as asphalt. It’s the cheapest and dirtiest fuel in the world’.

Bunker fuel is also thick with sulphur. IMO rules allow ships to burn fuel containing up to 4.5 per cent sulphur. That is 4,500 times more than is allowed in car fuel in
the European Union. The sulphur comes out of ship funnels as tiny particles, and it is these that get deep into lungs.


2 thoughts on “Six Thousand Times as much Pollution as All the Cars in the World.

  1. Sam

    I really appreciate that the “higher ups” are starting to look around at all the potential changes that could be made which would make much bigger differences than the small potatoes they’ve been stressing the average Joe about. Now if we could just get all the eco-political operatives (Big Brother Al, for instance) to mothball those private jets and use mass transit like the common people…

  2. Danny

    This is one of the major reasons the campaign against global warming has bothered me. Because, why tell me about pollution when the cargo ships are to an order of magnitude worse when it comes to this problem. Our entire country of SUV drivers combined cannot swing a stick at these cargo ships. This is exactly why I don’t bother myself with the propaganda because it is obviously a political power move when one looks at facts like this. Don’t talk to me about global warming regulations, taxing, etc… go to the real source.

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