Life4MedECA project for 'low-emissions Mediterranean'

Italian national research center measured air quality at ports

07 October, 18:10

    (ANSAmed) - ROME, OCT 7 - Results from measuring air quality in some Mediterranean ports were illustrated at the central headquarters of Italian national research center (CNR) on Thursday.

    The measurements had been done as part of the Life4MedECA project, an initiative linked to the Med Emission Control Area (ECA) talks, underway between 22 governments of Mediterranean countries to assess the effects of more rigid environmental regulations for maritime transport.

    Fuels with low sulphur content are supposed to be used within the ECA zone to reduce emissions and fine particle matter.

    Promoted in 2019 by Italy as host nation for the COP21 of the Barcelona Convention, the final decision on Med ECA will be made on Dec. 7 during the COP22 in Turkey.

    According to a statement, in order to understand the effects on the Mediterranean transportation system and the effects on public health and the environment, the European Commission and the environment ministries from Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, and France have given Life4MedECA a series of in-depth studies and measurements of air quality in Mediterranean ports alongside the same from 2015 in northern Europe.

    Carried out between October 1 and October 6 in Italy, the measurements will continue October 25 in Malta and be done in non-European countries over the course of 2022.

    Northern Europe and North America have been ECAs since 2015.

    The impact of the ECA on the Baltic region lowered sulphur emissions by between 50% and 60%, sharply reducing lung diseases and doubling savings.

    The Baltic experience was useful but the Mediterranean is a much larger area, with three continents and 22 countries, accounting for 13% of world maritime traffic.

    "To be able to treat the patient effectively," said Emilio Campana, director of the DIITET department of CNR, "it is above all necessary to know the current state of health, using the same techniques of inquiry used with those who have been cured." "It is for this reason that Life4MedECA," project coordinator Antonella Querci said, "has been tasked with carrying out the necessary studies to estimate impacts, establish how to help, and who will bear the financial burden of the transition as well as to decide on technologies to invest in to lessen the burden" as much as possible.

    Some of the results are already available, beginning with the impact of greater fuel costs on consumers, equal to less than 0.1% of the value of the merchandise, a negligible fraction of the increase due to a recent rise in costs for renting container ships due to the COVID pandemic.

    Some are already in line with the recommendations, such as fishermen who use agricultural fuel with a much lower sulphur content than that required by ECAs.(ANSAmed).

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