Mankind found numerous ways to harm our planet and damage just about every ecosystem; what we fail to understand is that this backfires at us. A report made by James Corbett of University of Delaware and James Winebrake from Rochester Institute of Technology claims that marine shipping causes approximately 60,000 premature cardiopulmonary and lung cancer deaths around the world each year. Corbett and Winebrake’s results come in the midst of current discussions by the International Maritime Organization to regulate emissions from ships. With the current regulation, and with the expected growth in shipping activity, Corbett and Winebrake estimate the annual mortalities from ship emissions could increase by 40 percent by 2012.
“This study will help inform policymakers about some of the health impacts associated with ship emissions and the long range transport of those emissions to population centers,” says Winebrake, chair of RIT’s Department of Science, Technology and Society/Public Policy. “We now have a benchmark by which we can begin to evaluate the benefits of emission reduction policies.”.
Ships run on residual oil, which has sulfur content thousands of times greater than on-road diesel fuel. This product is way more harmful than others but it is cheaper.
“We needed to know what the benefits are of cleaning up this fuel,” he explains. “Now we can evaluate the human health impacts of policies to require low-sulfur fuels for the shipping industry or that require ships to put emissions control technology on their vessels. Our study will help inform this policy debate.”.
This should make people think about how to improve the environment and economic performance of our ships.