LETTER: Container ships cause the majority of pollution to the oceans

Dear editor,

There is a lot of talk of saving the planet by bringing in electric vehicles, and going to solar and wind power, and pointing accusing fingers at diesel trucks and falsified emission ratings from various car manufacturers.

Why in the name of sanity has no one ever pointed those same fingers at the large container ships that ply the world’s oceans by the thousands?

There are approximately 100,000 container ships at any one time, chugging their way from China and other countries, where all our manufacturing jobs have gone to. Anyone with a laptop can study their fuel consumption and subsequent pollution of the oceans they call home.

The fuel they use is one grade above asphalt, and it has to be superheated to go through the engines’ injectors. The resulting smoke is too toxic to be discharged through the smoke stacks, so two-thirds is injected into the ocean.

This low-grade bunker fuel is between 2,000 and 4,000 times more toxic than the diesel fuel used by your local trucking company. One large container ship produces as much pollution as 50 million cars. Sixteen of the largest container ships emit more pollution than the world’s approximately 760 million cars! And do not forget there are about 100,000 of them plying the oceans. Their fuel consumption is not measured by gallons per hour, but by tons per hour, 300 to 400 tons per day. The by-products of burning this bunker oil is sulphur oxide, nitrogen oxide, and a bunch of other cancer-causing nasties. Some scientists agree that living close to a major port is extremely bad for your health, especially those with existing lung problems.

Now consider the water quality left behind by these mega polluters, and wonder no more, why the killer whales are under stress, the fishing is not what it used to be, and all the world’s oceans are in a state of decline. Even the Arctic and Antarctic are not immune to this mess.

The solution is to force shipping companies to use the same fuel used in any other diesel engine now. This would reduce marine pollution by 2-4,000 per cent. Your lungs and the oceans inhabitants will thank you!

Tony Powsey


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