Death on the ocean air

Cargo vessels are the kings of air pollution, but steps to clean them up are only just beginning

There are 760 million automobiles in the world. The 15 largest cargo ships plying the seas produce as much atmospheric pollution as all those autos. Low-grade oil used by the world’s 90,000 ocean-going ships produce alarming amounts of sulphur dioxide, particulates and nitrogen oxide. New research indicates the fleet is responsible for 60,000 deaths a year. The Obama administration is preparing a 368-km buffer zone around the United States (Canada is expected to adopt the measure as well). The buffer zone would require ships entering the zone to meet more stringent environmental standards. Europe has yet to take similar steps even though its coastal waters are the busiest in the world.


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