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Aug. 23 EU: Better air quality in harbours thanks to EU policies

From Phys Org an article that describes the success of a new EU policy on hazardous chemical levels in harbors.

Levels of sulphur dioxide in ports of the EU have been reduced by 66% as a result of European policies aimed to improve the quality of the air we breathe. Sulphur dioxide is a serious air pollutant that causes acid rain and also generates fine dust. This dust is dangerous for human health, causing respiratory and cardiovascular diseases and reducing life expectancy in the EU by up to two years. European research has shown that this reduction is a direct result of the EU Directive 1999/32/EC which required low-sulphur fuels for ships at berth or at anchor in ports and which came into effect as of January 2010.

Measurements of other air pollutants taken in the harbours of Civitavecchia, Savona, Palma de Mallorca and Tunis showed no reduction. This showed that the decreases measured in sulphur dioxide were a direct result of EU policies.

The aim of the EU Directive was to establish limits on the maximum sulphur content of gas oils, heavy fuel oil in land-based applications as well as marine fuels. In so doing it incorporated the sulphur provisions of the MARPOL Annex VI. MARPOL is the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships and is the main international convention covering prevention of pollution of the marine environment by ships from operational or accidental causes.

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