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Report: Cruise ships comply with air-pollution regulations by dumping it into the sea instead

Report: Cruise ships comply with air-pollution regulations by dumping it into the sea instead
[Photo: Willian Justen de Vasconcellos/Unsplash]

You haven’t bought a plastic bottle of water in three years. You bring your own bag, buy in bulk, take mass transit or bike everywhere, reduce your use of air conditioning, dutifully separate your recycling, cut down on food waste, help plant trees, eat less meat, write your member of Congress about the Green New Deal, march for the planet, and generally do your best to help fight the climate crisis and save our swiftly heating planet. Good for you.

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Then there is the shipping industry.

The Independent reports that the global shipping industry has spent billions of dollars to make sure they can keep making as much money as possible while polluting the ocean and sailing through a giant environmental loophole. As new environmental legislation designed to curb air pollution from these ships is set to go into effect on January 1, reportedly “bulk carriers, container ships, and oil tankers, which have the biggest engines and have historically been the worst polluters” have decided that the best way to comply with the law isn’t by cleaning up their act but by diverting pollution from the air and dumping it into the sea instead.

They have reportedly spent billions installing “open-loop scrubbers,” which extract sulfur from the exhaust fumes of ships that run on “heavy fuel oil” and re-route it from the air to be dumped directly into the sea.

It’s not just freighters and oil tankers, though. “About half of the world’s roughly 500 cruise ships have or will soon have scrubbers installed,” Bryan Comer, a senior researcher at the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), told the Independent.

According to the Independent, scrubbers not only pollute the water, putting marine life and coral reefs at risk and increasing the risk of some cancers in humans, but also increase carbon dioxide emissions, which puts the entire planet at risk. This egregious behavior means that the ships are complying with the new standards set by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) but can still make money to make themselves and their shareholders rich, planet be damned.

Read the full story here, but be aware that it is infuriating.

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