Pollution of most dangerous shipping as motor transport
The Monde.fr | Laetitia Van Eeckhout By 22.07.2015
Tuesday 21 July, while the Minister of Ségolène Royal ecology decided to postpone its ads in the fight against air pollution, environmental associations put the spotlight on a little-known source of emissions of pollutants: France Nature Environment (FNE ) and the German NGO NABU launched from the port of Marseille, an awareness campaign on pollution from shipping. A more dangerous pollution than the automobile transport.
Merchant ships as cruise ships mostly use as fuel heavy fuel oil, a byproduct of petroleum, which emits large quantities of fine particles, nitrogen oxides, and especially sulfur oxides. This pollutant is one of the main factors behind the rain acidification problem and is very toxic to human health.
In a study published in early June, the University of Rostock and the research center Helmholtz Zentrum German Environment Munich establish an unambiguous link between the exhaust freighters and serious diseases. Originally lung and severe cardiovascular diseases, shipping emissions, according to this study, 60 000 cause premature deaths per year in the EU. Cost European health services: 58 billion.
Residents of coastal areas are most at risk, according to these researchers estimate that half of the air pollution due to particles in coastal and port areas comes from ships emissions. Data from the Public Health Supervisory Service Long Beach in the district of Los Angeles (USA) revealed that people living near the port enclave experiencing levels of asthma, cardiovascular disease and depression senior 3% on average than other city residents.
If measures were taken to reduce pollutants from diesel for cars and trucks, marine fuels, more toxic, remain surprisingly poorly regulated. "The marine fuels have a sulfur content of more than 3 000 times the fuel used by cars and trucks. However, road transport pays fuel taxes and shipping uses untaxed fuels, "says Adrien Brunetti, environmental health network coordinator of FNE.
The regulation in this area is essentially international. MARPOL (marine pollution) established by the International Maritime Organization has implemented emission controlled areas in which the fuel sulfur levels are regulated (Sulphur Emissions Control Areas, SECAs). Thus, since January 1er, in Manche, in the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, as in almost all US and Canadian coastal areas, ships can not use fuel containing more than 0,1% sulfur. "In the Mediterranean, where rates can be up to 4%, this threshold will only apply from 2020 or 2025" says France Nature Environment, denouncing the lack of willingness of states participating in the Marpol Convention , including France.
The France formal notice
The 29 April the Hexagon has also seen sent by the European Commission a notice for delay in transposing the Directive "sulfur" regulating emissions from ships. Declension of MARPOL, this directive, adopted in October 2012 requires Member States to respect the limits thresholds in the SECAs. Transposition was to be completed on June 18 2014.
It was not until the energy transition law for France to take the first initiative to fight against the pollution of ships. The text to be finally voted on Wednesday 22 July provides that "the State promotes, particularly by supporting pilot projects, the installation of liquefied natural gas distribution systems and electrical power to berthed in ports for ships and boats. "
"Expensive for public finances, this type of installation is only intended to limit emissions from ships at berth. It does not address the heart of the problem. The priority must be to change the fuel commercial boats. Although shipping going on diesel used for cars, is already substantially reduce their pollution, "notes Adrian Brunetti, who observes that throughout the world, initiatives are taken by the port authorities to encourage the reduction of sulfur in fuels. In the ports of Seattle or Houston for example, compensation is paid to owners for the additional costs entailed by the fuel change. The port of Singapore, it modulates its port taxes according to fuel type.
It is already possible to limit the emissions of sulfur emitted by the cargo by filtering their exhaust gases. Cruise ships in particular are circulating without any filtering system. "Particulate filters are installed on motor vehicles. Why, even calls Alain Brunetti, no he will not even for ships, while fuels are far more pollutants? "
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