Half of the coastal pollution due to sea traffic, finds study

A new study has revealed that pollution has been increasing due to the shipping. Sea traffic alone contributes to half of coastal pollution as per a study.

Sea traffic comes majorly from the ships which produce hazardous nanoparticles that eventually pollutes the sea. Especially huge ships emit nitrogen oxides and sulphates which have been stuffing the air in coastal areas with nanoparticles which are very dangerous. Such nanoparticles lead to unusual high death rates and almost half of the measured particles originate from sea traffic emissions.

Sea Traffic Causes Coastal Areas’ Pollution

A study has been conducted by experts in Lund University in which they have compared high levels of nanoparticles in coastal areas with other emissions from cars or road traffic. Shocking results have been revealed after the study. These nanoparticles from sea traffic in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea contributed to 10,000 premature deaths every year. The study says that the air along the coasts is full of harmful nanoparticles and almost half of the measured particles stem from sea traffic emissions. The rest of the pollution is considered to be essentially from cars. But most of the biomass combustion, industries and natural particles are evolved from the sea.

“This is the first time an attempt has been made to estimate the proportion of nanoparticles stemming from sea traffic,” said one of the researchers Adam Kristensson from Lund University in Sweden

“Previously, we thought that land-based pollution from northern European countries and emissions of natural particles from the surface of the sea accounted for a much larger proportion”, Adam added.

Till now, we believed that most of the pollution comes from road traffic and industrial pollutants due to the emission of harmful nanoparticles which led to deaths. But now, the new finding has reversed the belief of most of the people.

Hazardous Nano Particles Emits from Ships

Nanoparticles are more hazardous to our health as they can penetrate deeper into the lungs than other pollutants. As the nanoparticles are tiny in size, they can easily enter deeper into the lungs than larger particles which eventually causes several cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases. A cubic centimetre can contain several thousand nanoparticles. We can see such diseases with people living in the coastal areas.

The study also revealed that the wind often travels towards the east and nanoparticles reach longer distances before they get into lungs or washed away by rains. For this, they studied the air flow from Finnish archipelago to the Lithuanian station. Even after introducing a new regulation this year for the North Sea and the Baltic Sea limiting the sulphate content in fuel to 0.1%, the concrete effects are still to be estimated.

While explaining the negative effects of the nanoparticles, Kristensen said that nanoparticles are very harmful and can cause serious injuries. Due to their small size, nanoparticles get very deep into lungs and can cause havoc triggering pulmonary as well as cardiovascular diseases.

The study was published in the journal Oceanologia.

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