Ferry's smoke stack in Naples. Image credit/NABU
Environmentalists have put the spotlight back on poor air quality in ports with the release of samples taken over the weekend in the southern Italian port of Naples.
Two organisations, Cittadini per l'Aria and Nature and Biodiversity Union, were involved in collecting the air samples next to the ferry and cruise ship terminal in Naples.
Air pollution expert Dr Azel Friedrich, who has been involved in producing other pollution snapshots in the Mediterranean, found alarmingly high levels of ultrafine particles in the air. Clean air would be defined as a maximum of 1,000 particles per cubic centimetre (ccm), he said.
"We saw pollution levels of up to 98,000 particles per ccm when the Mein Schiff Herz [passenger/cruise ship] arrived in the port at 7 am even 800 meters away from the port in the city of Naples.
"The medium pollution was about 25,000 particles per ccm in the quiet, matutinal roads."
The scientist reiterated his call for an end to the use of heavy fuel oil and proper screening of ship emissions.
"Ship operators have to stop the use of heavy fuel oil and install particulate filters and nitrogen catalysts in order to limit the amount of harmful emissions to a minimum immediately," Friedrich said.
The organisers believe that the Naples exercise will help to build the case to turn the Mediterranean sea region into an emissions control area. The move already has the support of France and Spain.