(Mirror Daily, United States) – It seems that shipping has become one of the leading causes of air pollution in China and throughout the entire East Asia over the last few years.
Thousands of deaths are recorded every year as China has eight out of ten biggest container ports in the world.
Scientists have focused for an extended period on the air pollution caused by factories and cars, but recent research has shown that ship traffic has almost tripled in East Asia since 2005, and some of this pollution is caused by fuel oil, and it affects a large number of people.
A team of scientists from China and United States has conducted a study determine the impact of air pollution caused by shipping. Based on the findings, the most harmful factor is sulfur dioxide because it leads to acid rain.
The statistics showed that 24,000 deaths are recorded every year in East Asia, most of them due to cancer, lung disease, and heart conditions. Around 75 percent of these deaths occurred in China, whereas the rest were in South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Japan.
These deaths were caused by air pollution from 19,000 vessels which were monitored by experts. But the overall situation is even worse as one million people in East Asia die every year due to air pollution. All these deaths can be prevented if air pollution is substantially reduced.
Experts calculated that the number of deaths could range between 14,500 and 37,500 if big corporations deal with toxic emissions. According to Drew Shindell, one of the study authors from Duke University in the United States, the shipping levels in East Asia are quite massive nowadays compared with how these levels were a few years ago.
As a countermeasure, China, the country with the most crowded container port in the world, will begin requiring clean fuels for ships around coastal regions starting from 2019. Thousands of people are criticizing the corporations every year because of the air pollution impact on biodiversity.
However, it is not known yet whether China will take other active measures until 2019. Otherwise, there will be more deaths. The ships operating close to land from Europe and North America are already required to use cleaner fuel with below 0.1 percent sulfur content.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, North America is expected to prevent up to 14,000 premature deaths caused by shipping every year by 2020.
Image Source:World Maritime News