Ship emissions now remain the third largest source of air pollution in China, following vehicles exhaust and factory emissions.
According to the Economic Information Daily, the emission of a ship that uses fuels with 3.5% sulphur discharge is tantamount to that of 210 thousand trucks per day. The pollutants contain dozens of toxic chemicals that pose critical damage to people’s health.
Right now, China’s marine fuel quality lags behind that of major developed countries.
Industry observers suggest the establishment of an inter-regional mechanism to jointly tackle the problem.
Hong Kong is the first Chinese city to take strong actions against ship emissions, where half of air pollution was produced by marine vessels. In 2013, Hong Kong chief executive C. Y. Leung called for “green transport”, requiring vessels to use low-sulphur diesel in the Pearl River Delta ports.
Meanwhile in Shenzhen, over 100 container vessels from 15 shipping enterprises have participated in a project aiming to subsidize ships using low sulfur fuel or shore power.
In June, Chinese authorities said it was considering a new standard in regards to the country’s marine fuel quality and usage.
Last year, China rolled out its Air Pollution Action Plan, declaring a war against the country’s long-existing air pollution problem.