Cruise Liner Pollution Kills Up to 8,300 People a Year in US and Canada, Says EPA


Photo via Alex Hofford

Newly proposed restrictions would limit the amount of pollution cruise liner ships can emit in waters 200 miles around the coast of the US and Canada. The proposal is about to be adopted by the UN's International Maritime Organization, and is supported by many governmental groups, including the EPA. In fact, according to Reuters, the EPA argues that adopting the pollution controls would clear the air of particulates in port cities--and would save 8,300 lives a year. Which would mean that unregulated pollution from cruise lines is currently killing 8,300 people a year in the US and Canada . . . Here's the report, via Reuters:

Proponents, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, say the plan would clear the air around polluted port cities and save up to 8,300 lives a year in the United States and Canada. It would limit emissions of sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, pollutants that are linked to asthma and cancer. The Environmental Defense Fund activist group cheered the plan, saying "the dangerous air pollution from these floating smokestacks is a serious health threat to tens of millions of Americans who live and work in port cities."
Of course, the cruise industry execs are crying foul--they complain that the pollution controls would force them to pay up to 40% more for low sulfur fuels, and that they would no longer be able to burn any of the fuels they currently use within 200 miles of land. To which I say, Good.

To cruise ship executives: I am sorry that your fuel expenses will rise--perhaps you will have to increase the price of admission for your monolithic floating tributes to excess, in order to prevent some 8,300 people from dying every year for the crime of happening to live in port cities.

Okay, so that may have been a tad melodramatic--but it seems to me that there's a pretty strong case for limiting pollution from ships, and that the industry's case against doing so rests only on the complaint that it would be expensive. Thankfully for the 8,300 folks whose lives are likely to be saved by the measure, the proposal looks likely to be adopted by the IMO--leaving the world a slightly less polluted place.

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