Students propose regulations to regulate pollution of boats in Ecuador and Galapagos

June 08, 2021 8:10 PM

The research proposes emission limits for polluting gases based on engine technology, power and the quality of fuel used by ships. Photo: Courtesy UIDE.

Considering the percentages of pollution produced by ships and vessels that circulate on the Ecuadorian coasts and maritime ports, a group of students from the International University of Ecuador (UIDE) propose a regulation to regulate said emissions.

Juan Sebastián Álvarez-Torres, Rubén Criollo, Luis Dorfflinger and Gustavo Morán, are students at the UIDE School of Automotive Engineering and developed an investigation that proposes emission limits for polluting gases based on engine technology, power, the quality of fuel used by ships.

They consider that the emissions of polluting gases are not contemplated in a regulation according to the reality of the country that considers the fragility of the ecosystem of the Galapagos Islands and Ecuador.

As they state, the international maritime regulations MARPOL 1978 – in force in Ecuador – does not consider or establish limits on emissions of polluting gases that are permissible for vessels that travel through its territory.

This void creates the need to establish a range of pollution and ECA (Emission Control Area) zones in the country, with the aim of protecting the high level biodiversity existing in its waters.

Led by professor Marcos Gutiérrez, Ph.D., these young people developed an investigation that considers the analysis of the composition of the fuel, the operation of ships in specific conditions, and made an estimate of the amount of polluting gases generated in a year by each type of ship that travels along the Ecuadorian coasts.

His proposal raises emission limits for ships and vessels obtained through mathematical calculations and relates them to the international regulations proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the International Convention to Prevent Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) in order to propose real limits that can be fulfilled.

The countries of the European Union, Canada, the United States, among others, establish rigorous fines and sanctions for vessels that do not comply with the permitted pollution limit. Therefore, ships and ships that have long journeys have chosen to use a lower cost fuel and when approaching the emission control area they replace it with more efficient fuels that allow mitigating the impact on ecosystems.

Read the original coverage from El Comercio at

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