Friday, July 10, 2009

Cleaning Up the Air at Seaports

Imagine you're standing on the sea shore, gazing at the horizon. The sun washes over you from a cloudless sky, warming your skin. An occasional seagull caws overhead. You lean into the wind, take a deep breath.

Ahh, smell the salt air, clean and pure.

And the diesel fumes with their particulate matter.

Hold it, hold it. Diesel fumes? Particulate matter?

Yes. Because you're standing in a busy U.S. seaport, surrounded by large ships spewing exhaust smoke into the air.

According to this news report by the Voice of America, air pollution from large ships is expected to grow rapidly as port traffic increases. The EPA is therefore proposing stricter engine and fuel standards for U.S. ships that would significantly improve air quality throughout the U.S.

Thousands of miles of U.S. and Canadian coastline would be named an Emissions Control Area. The standards would apply to all ships operating within 200 nautical miles of the coasts.

From the news report:
By 2030, the domestic and international strategy is expected to reduce annual emissions of nitrogen oxides from large marine diesel engines by about 1.09 million metric tons and particulate matter emissions by about 130,000 metric tons. When fully implemented, the coordinated effort would reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by 80 percent and particulate matter emissions by 85 percent compared with current emissions.
And then the salt air you inhale really will be clean and pure.

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