Home LATEST NEWS Marine pollution: Mediterranean countries want to reduce their sulfur emissions

Marine pollution: Mediterranean countries want to reduce their sulfur emissions


Their decision to limit the sulfur content in marine fuel used in the Mediterranean to 0.1% – against 0.5% currently – must now be submitted for approval to the International Maritime Organization (IMO). In the event of a positive outcome, this limitation will come into force in January 2025.

Similar measures have already been taken in recent years. Since January 1, 2020, the sulfur content in marine fuel has thus been limited to 0.5%, against 3.5% previously, outside sensitive areas where it was already limited to 0.1%.

These emissions are a major problem because they contribute to the acidification of the oceans, the consequences of which are harmful for marine organisms. They are also the cause of 60,000 premature deaths per year worldwide, according to the estimates of some experts.

We hope that the implementation of this decision will lead to a significant reduction in pollution from ships.

A quote from Tatjana Hema, Coordinator of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the Mediterranean Action Plan

This agreement aimed at reducing the level of sulfur in marine fuel is a major breakthrough, judged for his part Patrick Child, Deputy Director General for the Environment at the European Commission, stressing that the Mediterranean is one of the seas with the most endangered biodiversity.

A region particularly vulnerable to pollution

It is a risk area in terms of climate change, a region particularly vulnerable pollution, abounds Carlos Bravo, environmental policy consultant for the NGO OceanCare, based in Switzerland.

Other problems arise beyond marine pollution, such as collisions between ships and marine mammals, notes Bravo, with maritime traffic in the Mediterranean being one of the densest in the world.

Further measures are needed to eliminate the by-catches – species like turtles and sharks sometimes get trapped in fishing nets – and to reduce noise pollution from ships, which also disrupts more than 150 species, he says.

The host country of the meeting, Turkey has recently been faced with several high-profile maritime pollution issues.

Whole sections of the Sea of ​​Marmara, located south of Istanbul, were covered in the spring with a thick layer of mucilages, viscous and pestilential foam. According to scientists, these mucilages, which took months to eliminate, are the result of years of neglect in the treatment of agricultural and industrial waste by the Turkish authorities.

This problem is solved, however, said Soner Olgun, head of the Laboratories, Measurements and Surveillance department of the Turkish Ministry of the Environment.

Asked by AFP, Turkish Deputy Minister of the Environment, Mehmet Emin Birpinar, admitted that marine pollution is also linked to the wastewater treatment system, as we saw in Istanbul with the mucilages. He added that 80% of marine litter arrives by land.

3,760 tonnes of plastic waste

According to a study by the Greek Oceanographic Institute (HCMR) published in October, 3,760 tonnes of plastic waste is currently floating in the Mediterranean Sea.

Loggerhead turtles, present on the southern coast of Turkey, are among the victims of this pollution.

These carnivores indeed tend to confuse plastic bags and jellyfish, explains Yakup Kaska, director of a structure dedicated to sea turtles in Mugla, in southwestern Turkey.

Another risk weighs on this protected species: the warming of the Mediterranean Sea leads to an increase in the number of female turtles, the heat influencing the sex of the egg.

years. “,” text “:” Even with the best scenario – a one degree temperature rise – we might only have females in 50 to 100 years. “}}”>Even with the best-case scenario – a one-degree increase in temperature – we might only have females in 50 to 100 years.

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