China should 'seriously consider' establishing ECA, report recommends
29th October 2014 06:00 GMT

Environmental organisation Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has recommended that China "seriously considers" forming an emission control area (ECA) for the country.

An NRDC report - China's Ports Play Major Role in Country’s Air Pollution Problems - examines a variety of control strategies for shipping and port emissions at Chinese ports.

Poor regulation of bunker fuel emissions at Chinese ports is contributing to the country's air pollution, the report says.

While port cities and regions in mainland China, including Shenzhen, Qingdao, Guangdong, Jiangsu, and Shandong, are beginning to introduce control measures for ship emissions, the report says that regulators may face "serious challenges" in placing the measures.

The reasons include the early stage of data collection for measures to control air emissions at most Chinese ports.  With the exception of Hong Kong and Shanghai, gathering data is one obstacle.

Further, an "extremely competitive" Chinese maritime transport industry will be the main obstacle preventing Chinese shipping firms from adopting clean shipping and port strategies.

"Looking ahead, joint regional and national efforts to control shipping emissions, such as establishing an ECA for major Chinese port regions or for the entire country, should be seriously considered as a way to address concerns over port competitiveness and to achieve the greatest environmental and health benefits in China," the organisation said.

"Establishing a consistent national regulatory framework is vital to discourage ships from evading their duties by switching to the least-regulated ports and to protect the economic interests of ports that opt for more stringent air quality improvement measures.

"Finally, establishing an ECA could spur the adoption of advanced technologies and clean fuels on ships when they are operating within China waters, leading to substantial reductions in shipping emissions and contributing to the attainment of China's air quality goals."


Gabian Chew, 29th October 2014 06:00 GMT
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