If you live near a port in the state of Washington, then you breathe the most toxic are in the state. Worse than near a paper mill, a freeway, or an airport. Ugh. Air pollution from ships is a huge problem that needs a solution.
How lenient are the rules on big ships? According to the Seattle Times:
Unlike most diesel-powered vehicles, these ships have largely escaped regulation, partly because most are registered in other countries. As a result, large freighters often burn thick, syrupy oil filled with sulfur, a major contributor to toxic diesel soot. The fuel in these ships averages 27,000 parts per million (ppm) of sulfur, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). By comparison, diesel trucks must use fuel with only 15 ppm.
Due in part to this dirty fuel, neighborhoods around ports had the most toxic air in Washington state, according to a 2006 Seattle Times analysis.
To me, it's a scandal that we've had to tolerate this situation until now. Is it really ok to allow 8,300 premature deaths, caused by ship fuel that's 2000 times dirtier than truck diesel fuel?
Finally, some action. A new proposal before the International Maritime Organization will reduce (not solve) the problem. Thank goodness for some action, and it's about time. Tweet