Study: Shipping Cited in Pollution-Related Deaths

Thursday, November 08, 2007
While the international shipping industry already is under acute pressure to reduce emissions, a new study – which claims that worldwide 60,000 deaths each year are attributable to pollutions from ships – could help to increase public pressure further.

The study, published in the American Chemical Society’s publication Environmental Science & Technology (ES&T) (DOI: 10.1021/es071686z) was produced by a team led by James Corbett of the University of Delaware and James Winebrake of the Rochester Institute of Technology, provide some of the first estimates of premature mortality from exposure to particulate matter, nitrogen oxides (NOx), and sulfate in global ship emissions.

The ES&T research was commissioned in part by the environmental groups Clean Air Task Force and Friends of the Earth International, which is a party to IMO discussions. This week, IMO will discuss data on ship emissions and whether to require emissions controls or a switch to cleaner fuels.

Depending on the scenarios and models used, the number of such premature deaths in 2002 ranged from about 19,000 to 64,000. Southeast Asia, India, and Europe bore the brunt of the mortality along coastlines and near ports, but inland France also saw high mortality rates due to atmospheric circulation patterns and population density, the models show.

(Source: Environmental Science & Technology Online)

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