Environmental impact has become a crucial issue when it comes to evaluating an industry’s performance. Policies to protect the environment are sometimes difficult to implement because they somehow limit action, but in order to have a planet to pass on to future generations, it is fundamental to include these regulations.
The International Transport Forum’s Ports Policy Review of Chile report reveals a highly polluted coastal environment. According to the document, “local air pollution from ships in Chilean ports amount to 20,800 tons of NOx emissions, 15,700 tons of SOx emissions and around 2,000 tons of particulate matter.” The report details that 40% of these emissions come from containerships; slightly more than a quarter comes from tankers and around a fifth from bulk carriers. Containerships are relatively more polluting: they represent a third of the port calls and 12% of time in port, yet represent 40% of the air pollution. Bulk carriers are relatively less polluting. The ports in Chile with the largest shipping emissions are San Antonio, Quintero and Valparaiso. Pollution is not only fossil fuel emissions. Noise impacts are also an issue. Limits are established by Ministry of Environment (DS n°38, 2011). The resolution lists the main sources of noise and their volume in Noise Power Spectrum (NPS).
Go for Green
Information on environmental impacts from ports in Chile is scarce, since there is no obligation for ports to publicly report on environmental impacts, so the first measure to improve environmental impact in Chilean ports would be to implement Green port policies.
The report suggests four key elements for a successful green ports policy: Set up a continuous port air measurement program; define main targets for environmental performance of ports, including on air emissions; develop a comprehensive approach on tackling air emissions from port activity; and give room to ports to develop their own instruments.
Follow the leader
A systematic and continuous port air measurement program should be set up. Port-related air emissions in Chilean ports are neither measured nor monitored. Only the port of Arica has started measuring its emissions and assessing its carbon footprint. Setting up a structural measurement program for air emissions in ports would help in comparing port performances and reducing emissions by quantifying progress made every year. An example of such a program can be found in Los Angeles. According to the report, the government should define main targets for environmental performance of ports, including air emissions. These targets should be applied to both public and private ports and based on an analysis to establish what are the most substantial environmental impacts and risks.
Also, a comprehensive approach should be developed for tackling air emissions from port activity.
That means that ports should coherently develop instruments to mitigate emissions from ships, port terminal equipment and port hinterland transport, making use of instruments such as regulation, incentives, subsidies and infrastructure investments. Ports should be granted more autonomy to develop their own instruments. In this way, instruments could be most appropriately designed in line with local circumstances.
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