Reply To: Marine and port-related air pollution in Hong Kong


Bloomberg news item tells of it being ok to burn dirty ship fuels in Hong Kong. Includes:

Vessels calling at North Sea and Baltic ports must use fuel containing no more than 1 percent sulfur to cut emissions estimated to cause at least 60,000 deaths a year worldwide. Ships steaming into Hong Kong are free to burn less costly 3.5 percent sulfur oil, which means they account for a growing share of the city’s air pollution and threaten the health of more than 25 million people in China’s Pearl River Delta.

So-called Emission Control Areas are either in place or will be for almost the entire U.S. coast by August, as well as ports in the English Channel, North and Baltic Seas. Ships entering those zones must use 1 percent sulfur fuel now and will have to switch to 0.1 percent by 2015. Under International Maritime Organization rules, all ocean-going vessels will have to burn 0.5 sulfur at sea by 2020.

Hong Kong is “fully determined” to tighten standards “as soon as possible,” said Pearl Ng, a spokeswoman for the Environmental Protection Department.

There were 63 container ships able to carry more than 5,000 units, in Pearl River waters on April 3, the data show.

At those kinds of concentrations, the ships’ engines consume energy at rates similar to the biggest power stations, said Simon Ng, a researcher into marine pollution at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Unlike power stations, their emissions aren’t regulated beyond the IMO’s sulfur-content cap of 3.5 percent — 3,500 times higher than the auto diesel sold in Hong Kong.

Ship pollution in Hong Kong made up 23 percent of sulfur dioxide and 27 percent of nitrogen oxides, gases whose health impact is greater than earlier thought, based on new data, said Hak-kan Lai, assistant professor in the school of public health at Hong Kong University.

Policy changes have been hindered by a “lack of political will” together with “delay tactics and denial,” Lai said.

Ship Smog Seen as Next Target to Clear Hong Kong Skies