China turns focus to smoky ships, boats in fight against pollution

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 08, 2015 5:57 AM

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China is considering regulating emissions from boats and ships, the environment ministry said on Monday, as it tries to clamp down on pollution.

Facing mounting public pressure, leaders in Beijing have declared a war on pollution, vowing to abandon a decades-old growth-at-all-costs economic model that has spoiled much of China's water, skies and soil.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection said it was seeking public feedback on whether to pass the regulation, which could include new standards on marine fuel quality and usage.

"Environmental pollution problems caused by shipping are becoming more evident," Xiong Yuehui, an official with the ministry, said in a statement on the ministry's website, adding that China had 172,600 vessels at the end of 2013.

He estimated that the shipping sector accounted for 8.4 percent of China's sulphur dioxide emissions and 11.3 percent of nitrogen oxide emissions in 2013.

Environmental regulations for ships are overseen globally by the International Maritime Organization. But while the IMO has cut pollution with emissions controls in America and Europe, which use low-sulphur marine fuels as standard, Asia has been left untouched.

Last October, a U.S. environmental group said shipping was a significant source of air pollution in China and that one container ship along the country's coast emitted as much diesel pollution as 500,000 Chinese trucks a day.

(Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Nick Macfie)