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Busiest in world, China’s ports pose environmental threat

Busiest in world, China’s ports pose environmental threat

BEIJING: Growing concerns about the bustling shipping ports as ships at major ones are emitting hazardous fuel. China’s trying to overcome the problem as quarter of the world’s container traffic passes through here.

According to a new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council, the fuel burned by ocean vessels may contain sulfur levels that exceed by 100 to 3,500 times the level in diesel for automobiles. The upshot, the report finds, is that “one container ship cruising along the coast of China emits as much diesel pollution as 500,000 new Chinese trucks in a single day.”

Because several of China’s major cities are located on the eastern coast, port pollution has direct consequences for human health. Independent studies cited by NRDC show that container traffic is a significant source of ambient air pollution in Shenzhen and Hong Kong. In 2010, air pollution across China contributed to 1.2 million premature deaths, according to data published in the British medical journal the Lancet..

 NRDC report concludes, “Air pollution from ships and port activities likely contributes to much higher public health risks than are found in other port regions.”