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The complete Air Quality Directive 2008/50/EC

Shipping I - Current study forecasts a drastic rise of harmful emissions from shipping

Already today ships are responsible for 13 percent of diesel soot emissions worldwide. Until 2050 this number could even triple, says a current study of the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT). The situation in the Arctic is especially dramatic. It is expected that the emissions from ships in arctic waters will be six fold until 2025.The soot is deposited on the white snow surfaces and by that accelerates the melting of the ice.

The prognosticated rise in soot emissions would eliminate much of the progress achieved on land so far. While exhaust fumes from cars, trucks and power plants are filtered, the shipping industry has incredible pollution privileges. And even if the soot is emitted in the air on the high seas – it can be blown several hundred kilometres inland. Just in Europe air pollution from ships causes about 50.000 premature deaths.

The ICCT study estimates that soot emissions could be reduced by 70 percent with the currently available measures - and that’s even a conservative estimation. If all ships would use soot particle filters, 99,9 percent of soot could be filtered from the fumes. The use of marine diesel with a better quality and effective exhaust gas emission systems needs to become compulsory for all ships. The German ministry for education and research is a worldwide model because its research vessel “Heincke” is equipped with soot particle filters and catalysts for nitric oxides. It would only be consecutive for the German government to campaign in the IMO to make this model an international standard and for ambitious reduction goals for soot emissions from ships.

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