Maritime transport is becoming one of the largest sources of air pollution in Europe. Recent analysis concluded that if nothing is done to substantially curb these emissions, NOx emitted by ships sailing in European waters is projected to equal and exceed emissions from all land‐based sources from 2020.1 This could seriously exacerbate the already persistently high levels of EU ecosystems subject to nitrogen deposition.
Two thirds of EU ecosystems are still over- exposed to nitrogen deposition. Moreover because much shipping activity occurs close to shore, ship emissions have a significant impact on human health and the environment with studies suggesting air pollution from international shipping causes some 50,000 premature deaths annually in Europe alone.
We urge EU Environment Ministers to ensure the EU adopts a harmonized and responsible position at the forthcoming IMO discussions. Mitigating shipping NOx emissions is critical to providing sufficient protection to the environment, human health and ecosystems and action is needed sooner rather than later.