Pollution has been the bane of the entire world for the past century. For a good portion of the previous century nobody cared at all about pollution; it simply was something that nobody thought of or cared about. The world is huge, what would a few puffs of smoke do to it? Of course today we know better.
Industry is one of the biggest polluters in our modern society. So are private vehicles. Many countries have imposed strict laws to try to limit the pollution of these two things (some countries so successfully that they are in fact amazingly clean).
But there are two major pollutants in our world that produce staggering amounts of pollution, and which get little to no attention.
A passenger airplane burns through thousands of liters of fuel on a single flight. There are thousands of passenger and cargo airplanes on air at any given moment. In other word, several thousands airplanes fly significant distances every single day. Which in turn means that literally millions of liters of fuel are burnt every single day by airplanes, their exhaust almost completely unfiltered.
This, however, is nothing compared to the amount of fuel consumed by passenger and especially cargo ships. It has been estimated that one big cargo ship is equivalent to over 50 million cars. That's right, 50 million. And the thing is, the pollution of cargo ships is extremely poorly regulated, if at all. And thousands of cargo ships are sailing our seas every single day. And since cargo ships are mostly out of sight, they are also mostly out of mind as well. Almost nobody cares about them, nor talks much about them when the subject is pollution.
These are problems that need to be fixed quickly, if we want to do something about pollution. Regulating the industry and private car use is good, but it's not enough. We have literally the equivalent of billions of cars on our seas and oceans every single day, with little to no regulation. We have likewise the equivalent of millions of cars flying on the sky every single day, which are likewise big sources of pollution even if they are regulated in some parts of the world, just because of technical reasons.
And the thing is, the vast majority of planes on our skies wouldn't need to exist. They exist solely because people want to travel long distances more quickly, even when they wouldn't need to do so (ie. travel that quickly or at all). It's just a commodity for somewhat wealthy people. The world would work just fine if eg. half of the planes flying every day would be removed.
Reducing the amount of cargo ships is a harder problem because it would have a big effect on world economy, but I do not believe it's an insurmountable one. We need to research less polluting ways to move those ships. We need to find ways to reduce their amount. We need to do something.
We need to start caring.