Ships’ sulphur emissions down 66 pct since 2010

Sulphur dioxide emissions, which cause acid rain, have dropped by 66 percent from ships in European Union ports since a new policy on shipping fuel began in 2010…

Scientists at the EU Commission’s Joint Research Centre measured air quality in Mediterranean harbors before and after the entry into force of the low-sulphur requirements for ships at anchor in January 2010.

In European Mediterranean harbors (Civitavecchia and Savona in Italy and Palma de Mallorca in Spain), they found an average decrease of 66 percent in concentrations of sulphur dioxide, while measurements taken in the non-EU port of Tunis showed no decline.

“This shows that the decreases in sulphur dioxide are a direct consequence of the application of the EU requirements,” the Commission said in a statement.

“The study also confirms a correlation between sulphur dioxide and chemical elements typically emitted from ship stacks, which demonstrates that ships were the main source of sulphur dioxide in the harbors.”

Sulphur dioxide is one of the main chemicals responsible for formation of acid rain, which harms plants, aquatic animals and infrastructure. It can also contribute to cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.

Always useful to witness verification of good science used to aid health and life in general. Too bad there still are a number of politicians both sides of the pond still missing in action in the fight for healthier life on this planet.

Our American EPA just instituted a similar regulation for all coastal waters, east and west.

Acid pollution in rain decreased with reduction in emissions

Emissions regulations do have an environmental impact, according to a long-term study of acidic rainfall by researchers at the University of Illinois.

The National Atmospheric Deposition Program collects rainfall samples weekly from more than 250 stations across the United States and analyzes them for pollutants. The program recently released a report detailing trends in acidic rainfall frequency and concentration over 25 years, from 1984 to 2009.

“This is the longest-term, widest-scale precipitation pollution study in the U.S. In particular, we wanted to see how the trends in the pollution and the rain correlated back to emissions regulations,” said Christopher Lehmann, a researcher in the program…”We’re seeing regulations on emissions sources having direct and positive impact to reduce pollutants in rain.”

The phenomenon commonly known as “acid rain” has widespread effects not only on the ecosystem, but also on infrastructure and the economy. Polluted precipitation adversely affects forestry, fishing, agriculture and other industries. Acid also erodes structures, damaging buildings, roads and bridges.

According to the report, acidic precipitation – rain or snowfall with a pH value of 5.0 or less – decreased in both frequency and concentration over the 25-year span.

The researchers largely attribute the decrease to the amendments to the Clean Air Act in 1990 regulating emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide, the gases that become sulfuric and nitric acid when mixed with rain water…

“You want to make sure that the regulations you put in place are effective, that they do what they were designed to do,” said David Gay, the coordinator of the deposition program. “…This study shows clear, significant evidence of the direct impact of regulation.”

Overdue. The progress – not the regulation or studies confirming that progress.

Certainly, there should be checks to confirm the cause-and-effect relationships, confirming that remediation is working, confirming that the laws forcing a decrease in emissions are working.

Please, let’s don’t waste time kissing the butt of know-nothing, anti-science politicians and pundits. There are sufficient creeps around who continue to deny any responsibility for environmental degradation by corporate sleaze. No need to add to their credibility by offering them time and space on the public dime.