The Ship It Zero campaign is excited to announce the addition of our newest demand to retailers and their ocean shipping carriers, End Port Pollution Now:
“Put the health of our coastal and port neighbors first by requiring your cargo carriers to use clean energy and electrification in major ports and eliminate port pollution now.”
Ship It Zero’s newest demand is about promoting a healthier America, global community, and planet for posterity to inhabit for generations to come.
While fossil-fueled ships wreak havoc on our climate and oceans, they also wreak havoc on the health of our frontline neighbors who live near ports. Indeed, in Los Angeles and Long Beach, home to the largest port complex in the Western Hemisphere, the port adjacent neighborhoods of West Long Beach, Wilmington, and San Pedro experience up to eight years lower life expectancy than the Los Angeles County average. In Long Beach, Black residents are hospitalized with asthma at eight times the rate, and Latinx residents, twice the rate, as white Long Beach residents. The California Air Resources Board estimates (1), as reported on by the Los Angeles Times (2), that in 2021, ships alone pumped an additional 20 tons of smog-forming nitrogen oxides into the air each day — the equivalent of adding 5.8 million passenger cars to the region — while adding as much lung-damaging diesel particulate matter as nearly 100,000 big rig trucks to the air.
In Houston, children living within 2 miles of the Ship Channel are 56 percent more likely to develop a specific type of leukemia than those living 10 miles away, as reported in the Houston Chronicle (3). Globally, fossil-fueled shipping contributes to 260,000 premature deaths and 6.4 million childhood asthma cases, disproportionately in communities of color and working-class communities.
By rapidly investing in 21st century ship electrification near ports and ending port pollution now, retailers and their carriers will play a role in promoting the health, longevity, and life of the families living in these neighborhoods.
Our newest demand comes on the heels of a landmark initial announcement by Maersk, which is emerging as a leader in the international ocean cargo shipping industry. The Danish shipping giant has accelerated its initial climate ambitions by a decade (4), with current commitments of 25-50% decarbonization by 2030 (5) and a reduction of portside emissions by 5 million tons per year at up to 100 ports globally starting in 2028 through electrification projects (6). We call on Maersk and its peers to accelerate this leadership with 2022 commitments to end port pollution. Moreover, we call on Walmart, Target, IKEA, Amazon, and other major retailers and their additional carriers to follow Maersk’s leadership.