New Shipping Rules Aim to Reduce Air Pollution, But Could Harm Seas
New shipping rules aimed at reducing air pollution will take effect in January 2020. The rules, put in place by the International Maritime Organization, or IMO, will change the kind of fuel that ships can use.
Ships, for the most part, will no longer be able to use fuels with a sulfur content above 0.5 percent. Current rules permit a sulfur content of around 3.5 percent.
The IMO's stated goal is to reduce air pollution.
However, experts and civil society leaders warn that the rules could have a bad side effect. Ship crews might dump more sulfur and nitrates into the ocean.
After January 2020, ships will still be able to use higher-sulfur fuel if they have pollution cleaning devices called scrubbers.
There are two kinds of scrubbers: open-loop scrubbers and closed-loop scrubbers. Open-loop scrubbers use water to remove sulfur coming through a ship's smokestack and pump the waste into the sea. Closed-loop scrubbers keep most of the water used in the cleaning process on the ship for disposal later at a port.
A few countries will ban the use of open-loop scrubbers. Singapore and Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates are two examples. China is also set to extend a ban on scrubber discharge to coastal areas.
"Were open-looped scrubbers ever a really good idea?" Bill Hemmings of the Clean Shipping Coalition asked industry figures at the IMO's headquarters in London.
Years of studies have examined whether open-loop scrubbers hurt human and marine life by putting dangerous chemicals into the water. The results, so far, have not been clear. The IMO has supported further study into the environmental impact of scrubbers.
"It's a bit of a blind spot, and the optics of it are not great," said Alan Gelder to the Reuters news agency. Gelder is vice president of refining at consulting company Wood Mackenzie
"Though some studies suggest the impact of open-loop scrubbing is going to be very small given the great volume of seas, which already contain many sulphates, what it's doing is solving air pollution by producing a marine pollutant instead."
The stated aim of the new rules is to improve human health.
A study last year said that ship pollution with current sulfur levels caused about 400,000 premature deaths from lung cancer and cardiovascular disease. The study, which appeared in the journal Nature, also said the pollution caused about 14 million cases of childhood asthma every year. After 2020, experts think those numbers will fall to about 250,000 and 6.4 million, respectively.
Some people, however, are still doubtful of the new rules.
One oil trader told the Reuters news agency that the "huge changes" might not be as helpful as some might think.
"In the end you can still buy a piece of kit that just dumps it [pollution] in the water," he said.
I'm John Russell.
1.lung cancer 肺癌
The test should identify which smokers are most prone to develop lung cancer.
2.air pollution 空气污染
They say gas guzzlers are contributing to air pollution.
3.premature deaths 早逝；过早死亡
Premature deaths are often due to heart problems, fatty tumors or atherosclerosis.
4.coastal areas 沿海地区
The coastal areas were hit by a typhoon.
5.Ships, for the most part, will no longer be able to use fuels with a sulfur content above 0.5 percent.
for the most part 很大程度上；多半
Professors, for the most part, are firmly committed to teaching, not research.
For the most part he left the books to his managers and accountants
6.The rules, put in place by the International Maritime Organization, or IMO, will change the kind of fuel that ships can use.
put in place 到位；实施
The restrictions have been put in place, after a five-day national strike.
And more policies and measures are put in place in this regard.
旨在减少空气污染的新航运规则将于2020年1月生效 。这些由国际海事组织(IMO)制定的规则将改变船舶的燃料种类 。
在很大程度上，船舶将不能够再使用硫含量超过0.5%的燃料 。目前的规定允许硫含量限值在3.5%左右 。
洗涤器分两种：一种是开环洗涤器和闭环洗涤器 。开环式洗涤器利用水冲刷船只烟囱内的硫，并将废物排入大海 。而闭环洗涤器将清洗过程中使用的大部分废水保留，待靠岸之后再处理 。
一些国家将禁止使用开环洗涤器 。例如，新加坡和阿拉伯联合酋长国的富查伊拉 。中国还将延长对沿海地区使用洗涤器的禁令 。
多年来，人们一直在研究开环式洗涤器是否会将危险的化学物质排入水中，进而伤害人类和海洋生物 。截至目前，尚未有定论 。国际海事组织支持进一步研究洗涤器对环境的影响 。
艾伦·盖尔德对路透社表示，“这是一个盲点，它的光学效果不是很好 。”盖尔德是咨询公司Wood Mackenzie炼油业务的副总裁 。
去年的一项研究称，目前因高硫燃料造成的船舶污染导致约40万人过早死于肺癌和心血管疾病 。这项发表在《自然》杂志上的研究还指出，污染每年导致约1400万儿童哮喘病例 。专家们认为，2020年后，这两个数据将分别降至25万和640万左右 。