Source: Royal Belgium Institute of Natural Sciences
Sulphur Oxides (SOx) in atmospheric ship emissions resulting from the burning of fuel are known to be harmful to human and ecosystem health. Since January 1st, 2020, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) further lowered the limit for sulphur content in ship fuel, resulting in an increased number of exhaust gas cleaning systems (scrubbers) installed on board of ships. These systems reduce the sulphur content in the air emissions, but some discharge the SOx directly in the water. Here they contribute to ocean acidification and potentially create problems for a range of marine organisms. The Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences used a biogeochemical model to quantify the potential impact in the southern North Sea. The results showed that the largest changes occur in areas of high traffic density, such as along the Belgian and Dutch coasts and in the vicinity of large harbours, where the changes are sufficiently big to contribute to environmental degradation and a loss of economic potential.
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