Yifang Zhu in Helling Shipping News: As oil prices crashed, tankers idled off California—spewing pollution for weeks
Giant ships lurked off the California coast for weeks in April and May, their bellies full of up to 20 million barrels of oil. This floating cache, enough to support the energy needs of the entire U.S. for a day, sat aboard an idling fleet that pumped out tons of pollutants, according to a new analysis performed by the University of College London and shared with National Geographic. “The ports are an environmental justice issue,” says Yifang Zhu, an air pollution expert at UCLA’s Fielding School of Public Health. “The nearby communities are exposed to so many pollutants from ships and trucks, and the effects are very clear,” she says. Among them, more preventable lung and heart disease, an increased risk of diabetes, and higher cancer rates.