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The Totally Magical Utterly Fantastical Pollution Solution Transference Machine

The Totally Magically Fabulous Completely Unbelievable Pollution Solution Transference Machine

A stranger zipped up in the most expensive of cars! A well meaning fellow, a marine industry star.

“My friends”, he announced in a voice clear and clean, “My name is Captain Michael McMoney McGreen, and I’ve heard of your troubles. I’ve heard you’re unhappy. But I can fix that, I’m the Fix-It-Up Chappie.

I’ve come here to help you. I have what you need. And my prices are low. And I work with great speed. And my work is one hundred per cent IMO guaranteed!”

Then, quickly Michael McMoney McGreen, put together a solution that was really obscene. And he said, “You want clean air like you've never seen? My friends, you can have that air for five million a machine! Just pay me your money and hop right aboard!”

And the big moneyed contraption roared. And it klonked. And it bonked. And it jerked. And it berked. And it bopped them about. But the thing didn't work! The machine scrubbed the pollution right out of the air and dumped the sludge in the sea without a care.

Michael McMoney McGreen said with sly grin as he wiped some spittle from his thin chin: "The waste sludge can't float and its not in the air, hence no one will ever know we were there."

 

Bottom Feeders’ Bottom Line Dilution Pollution in the Oceans

Stripping ships' stack emissions from the air and dumping the waste directly into the ocean is not good for the oceans, is not good public policy, is not good for all of the users of the oceans' commons and it is not fair to those owners who have committed to buying and burning the cleaner more costly fuel. 

The only people who will benefit from scrubbers are the irresponsible ship owners, manufacturers of the scrubbers, flag states and those Class societies bending themselves into pretzels approving the systems.

Manufacturers estimate the cost of installation from $3 to $5 million US per copy. Owners promoting and installing scrubbers will be allowed by the IMO to continue to burn the less costly dirty fuel. Owners see the scrubbers as a competitive advantage. By avoiding the purchase of the cleaner fuel, the scrubbers are supposed to pay for themselves in less than two years....and what's good for the companies' bottom line is good for the flag, Class and the IMO.

The business case for installation of the scrubbers is devoid of any ethical or environmental cost assigned to the dumping of waste into the oceans. Every operating company, consultant, flag and Class society championing the dumping of scrubber waste to the sea has a website claiming sustainability as a core value. Dilution as a solution is a failed 18th century concept. That the IMO still explicitly allows seawater dilution as a solution in its standards makes the IMO complicit in the assault and battery on the maritime commons.

Standards are important. For most shoreside industries there are strict performance monitoring and enforcement protocols for the equipment and effluents. The marine industry also has shiploads of standards: standards for the installation, operation and documentation of all manner of environmental equipment such as sewage treatment plants (STP), bilge separators/oily water separators (OWS), garbage disposal systems and now scrubbers ... and ALL are approved by Class societies - for a fee.

As per Class, the environmental systems for ships work well in the lab. So well in fact that in the case of some Class approved STPs the systems make the waste magically "disappear". In reality, the IMO allows untreated sewage to be discharged when 12 miles off of your beach. Any coast with a steady stream of ship traffic can do the math: three flushes per person aboard per day times the number of ships. And that isn't including livestock carriers.

As an example: The Netherlands has taken samples from 120 merchant ships since 2012, and “97 percent of the sewage treatment plants did not meet all the discharge standards.” (MEPC 71/INF.22). Pollutants such as suspended solids and fecal coliforms often exceeded their limits by 10 and 10,000 times respectively. These ships were “discharging virtually untreated sewage” (MEPC 71/INF.22).

The marine industry isn't a model of environmental compliance, having been repeatedly fined for dumping and discharging oil, sludge, hazardous waste and tons of excrement directly into the seas. Many in the industry hide behind the IMO's traditionally lowest minimum acceptable standard system. However, their failure to comply with even the IMO's minimum standard has led to a long line of marine executives pleading guilty to criminal charges, paying fines and having to implement mandatory court environmental compliance programs.

The IMO and scrubber alchemist are asking us all to believe it is good policy to use the oceans as a cesspool. How is that responsible, ethical and sustainable behavior?

And Michael McMoney McGreen?

Michael McMoney McGreen put together a solution that was really obscene.

Michael McMoney McGreen smiled as he left the maritime scene, knowing he'd be back to remove the machines once the sulfur hack scheme was outlawed by coastal state regimes.

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