Your efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the shipping sector are certainly encouraging. Proposing that it should be mandatory for ships to reduce their emissions by 40%, from those calculated in 2018, within the next ten years is an ambitious but very noble cause.Ms. Paulus,
Your efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the shipping sector are certainly encouraging. Proposing that it should be mandatory for ships to reduce their emissions by 40%, from those calculated in 2018, within the next ten years is an ambitious but very noble cause. If you are successful, this will have a profound impact on the health of our planet. It is clear that you recognize the need for action that Earth desperately requires.
While we applaud your efforts thus far, the likely reality is that this alone will not be enough. More must be done to repair all the damage that years and years of neglect has imposed. Fortunately, there is a simple step that you can take today to protect the planet from further damage and we strongly urge you to consider it.
The use of scrubbers in EU ports and coastal waters should be banned. Scrubbers are a major uncertainty that put our oceans at risk. Questions surrounding the safety of scrubbers have continued to grow since the implementation of the IMO’s sulfur cap.
Of course, proponents of scrubbers will vehemently assure their safety and attest that they have the research to prove it. If you review these studies, however, you will not find data that can be trusted. Inevitably, you will learn that the study was funded by a vested interest or that samples were collected by crew members. Perhaps, only the effects of one pollutant was examined. The bottom line is that their research is plagued with problems.
Meanwhile, more and more studies, with trustworthy data, are indicating that scrubbers do pollute the marine environment. Take for example, this study conducted by the IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute. Researchers found that scrubber discharges negatively affect vital function in several organisms, including copepods, a keystone species. There is also this study conducted by Umwelt Bundesamt. Researchers combined data from multiple studies to examine the cumulative effects scrubber washwater can have. They found that scrubbers decrease pH and increase temperature, putting more stress on the already fragile marine environment.
At a meeting last year, the IMO Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response urged that more research regarding the impact of scrubber washwater is needed. Currently, the Sub-Committee is meeting again, and initial reports suggests the safety of scrubbers is still far from certain.
It is a fact, that for every ton of fuel burned by a ship using a scrubber, 45 tons of toxic washwater is released. This washwater has been shown to contain both carcinogens and heavy metals. Even more concerning is that there is evidence to suggest these harmful substances can creep into the food chain. In an internal, IMO-commissioned report, findings compiled from GESAMP indicate a real fear that pollutants in the washwater are entering the food chain. If true, this poses a major threat to human health.
Why endanger human lives? Why put the pristine waters of the EU coastline at risk? Why potentially further harm the environment when there are safer options available? Jeopardizing both our health and the health of our oceans, all so that ship owners can save money on high-sulfur fuel should be unacceptable. Profits should never come before people or the planet.
By 2030, your proposal to reduce carbon dioxide emissions could make great strides in restoring the health of our world but we do not have to wait ten years to see such a profound effect. Act now and ban the use of scrubbers in EU ports and coastal waters!
The Environmental Protection Alliance