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16 Ships Pollute More Than All Cars in the World

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Just 16 of the world’s largest container ships can produce more pollution more than all the cars on the planet.

In an editorial report in Britain's Daily Mail, an award-winning science writer Fred Pearce, author of Confessions of an Eco Sinner, writes that the super-ships that keep the West in everything from Christmas gifts to computers pump out killer chemicals linked to thousands of deaths because of the filthy fuel they use.

As ships get bigger, the pollution is getting worse. The most staggering statistic of all is that just 16 of the world’s largest ships can produce as much lung-clogging sulphur pollution as all the world’s cars.”

In today’s world ships are used to transfer everything from oil to electronics and as the demand for cheap consumer goods increase, so does the number of ships needed to transport goods around the world.
There are about 100,000 commercial ships at sea, importing and exporting goods all over the world. Many of them burn marine heavy fuel, or "bunker fuel", that is high in sulphur content - the result is that the ships’ fuel is extremely dirty and polluting.

Thanks to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) rules, the largest ships can each emit as much as 5,000 tons of sulfur in a year -- the same as 50 million typical cars, each emitting an average of 100 grams of sulfur a year.

With an estimated 800 million cars driving around the planet, that means 16 super-ships can emit as much sulphur as the world fleet of cars.

Ship emissions expert James Corbett of the
University of Delaware calculates a worldwide death toll of about 64,000 a year. He expects that figure to rise to 87,000 deaths a year by 2012.

[source: Daily Mail]

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