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China paying high toll for shipping emissions

 China’s largely unregulated ports and shipping system generate significant air pollution that imposes a huge health and environmental burden and contribute to the country’s over 1 million pollution-
related deaths each year, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) said in a report. China is now home to seven of the globe’s top ten busiest ports and does not require that container ships meet the same air quality standards administered by many other ports around the world. Consequently, one container ship operating along the coast of China emits as much diesel pollution as 500,000 new Chinese trucks in a single day.

 “China’s container ports are among the busiest in the world, yet their pollution is mostly unmonitored and uncontrolled,” said Barbara Finamore, NRDC’s Asia director. “Along with the massive cargo every ship and truck delivers to these ports, comes even more air pollution in the form of a toxic stew of cancer-causing diesel exhaust and black carbon that chronically plague China’s growing port regions. Luckily, today we have a suite of proven strategies and clean technologies, already employed around the world, which can reduce these shipping emissions.”

 NRDC’s analysis, The Prevention and Control of Shipping and Port Air Emissions in China, outlines near- and long-term pollution reduction strategies to address the human health toll China pays for its shipping emissions.

A recent study estimates 1.2 million premature deaths in China in 2010 were caused by ambient air pollution. Since Chinese port cities are some of the most densely populated in the world and about 30 percent of the world’s containers pass through these ports, air pollution from ships and port activities likely contributes to much higher public health risks in China than in other port regions, NRDC said.

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