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China cracks down on ship pollution

Beijing is clamping down further on ship emissions in rulings that could change the shipping industry forever. The Chinese government has come under pressure to act over the dire state of the environment and has already taken sweeping measures against many industries, including shipping with the creation of the nation’s first ECAs (emission control areas). It is now going a step further, issuing its first ever set of national standards to curb harmful emissions from the shipping industry.

The standards issued jointly by the Ministry of Environment (MEP) and the country’s quality watchdog – the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine – aim to cut emissions of greenhouse gasses and other particulate matter from ships with an engine capacity of over 37 kilowatts.

MEP data claims that the shipping industry contributed 8.4% of the total sulphur dioxide emissions and more than 11% of nitrogen oxide released in 2013.

In the first stage of the new standards, the shipping industry is required to cut emissions of PM10 and PM2.5 by about 70% from the levels in 2016 over the next three years. 20% of the current nitrogen oxide emissions must also be slashed over the same period.

The second stage will see ship operators need to cut another 40% of PM10 and PM2.5 emissions from levels in 2019 and reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by a further 20% from 2020 to 2022, according to the document.

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Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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