There is an interesting report offering striking figures on the level of pollution caused by container ships, which use extremely low-grade fuel. United States researchers have found that a single container ship can release the equivalent of 50 million cars and that these ships kill 60,000 people a year in the U.S. alone. The report follows new measures by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which has added pressure on the European Union.
These ships use low-grade bunker fuel which has up to 2,000 times the sulphur content of diesel fuel used in US and European automobiles. The U.S. has imposed a 230-mile buffer zone along the entire US coast and Canada is expected to follow suit. The EPA believes that the buffer zone will save 8,000 lives a year by reducing emission of sulphur, particulate matter, and nitrogen oxide.
Debates over pollution are often left on an overly generalized level — pitting environmental values against claims of jobs and taxation loses. The public rarely understands that this pollution has a dealt impact in life and illness. Diesel truck emissions have also been estimated in such stark health terms, here. Environmentalist need to work harder to show the public that these laws have a direct impact on the their health and those of their children. Dramatic increases in asthma is an good example of such a relationship between health and pollution.
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