Victory at Sea

New Standards Cut Shipping Emissions




While cars have long been subjected to pollution limits, standards for other engines have lagged behind; some of the last holdouts are oceangoing vessels. Now, new international standards adopted by member states of the International Maritime Organization will close this loophole, cutting pollution from cruise and container ships and other vessels by 80 to 90 percent. Recent U.S. legislation enables our country to participate.

Health data in a recent Environmental Defense Fund report documents how millions of people in hundreds of U.S. coastal communities are at risk from shipping emissions. Smog-forming diesel particulates that can lodge deep in lungs have been linked to cancer.

The victory complements new Environmental Protection Agency rules mandating cuts in soot and smog-forming pollution from diesel barges, ferries and trains. Collectively, the standards are expected to prevent tens of thousands of deaths and hospitalizations each year.

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