Ship pollution costs billions

Air pollutant emissions from ships operating in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea are responsible for health damage in Europe valued at 182 billion Danish kronor (DKK) (24 billion Euro) per year, of which DKK 6.1 billion (0.8) occurs in Denmark. These are preliminary results from an ongoing study by the Danish Centre of Energy, Environment and Health (CEEH), using the EVA (Economic Value of Air pollution) computer model. The research aims at mapping the true costs of damage caused by emissions from the energy and transport sectors.

Economic valuations of air pollution damage currently focus on health impacts, but this study also aims to cover impacts on the general environment, including ecosystems and climate. It is estimated that the total national emissions of air pollution in Denmark cause health damage in Europe valued at DKK 31 billion each year, of which DKK 3.9 billion occurs within Denmark. By comparison, air pollutant emissions from ships operating in the sea areas surrounding Denmark and in Danish inland waters are responsible for health damage in Denmark valued at DKK 6.1 billion per year.

“Emissions from international shipping are responsible for a surprisingly large share of air pollution damage in Denmark, primarily because ships still use high-sulphur residual fuels. The increased levels of fine particulate matter (PM) that result from burning these fuels are strongly linked to serious health damage,” explains professor Mikael Skou Andersen at the National Environment Research Institute (NERI).

Source: Jyllands-Posten, 23 and 24 March 2009.

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