Sea traffic alone contributes to half of coastal pollution

London, Nov 21 (IANS) The air along the coasts is full of hazardous nanoparticles and almost half of the measured particles stem from sea traffic emissions, says a study.

The rest is deemed to be mainly from cars but also biomass combustion, industries and natural particles from the sea, according to the study.

“This is the first time an attempt has been made to estimate the proportion of nanoparticles stemming from sea traffic,” said one of the researchers Adam Kristensson from Lund University in Sweden.

“Previously, we thought that land-based pollution from northern European countries and emissions of natural particles from the surface of the sea accounted for a much larger proportion”, he said.

Nanoparticles can be hazardous to our health as they, because of their small size, can penetrate deeper into the lungs than larger particles contributing to both cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases. A cubic centimetre can contain several thousand nanoparticles.

To arrive at these results, the researchers studied the air flow from their measuring station in southern Sweden as it passes over the Baltic Sea, all the way to the measuring station on the Lithuanian coast.

By comparing levels of nanoparticles, the researchers could draw conclusions about the respective proportions that stem from cars and other emissions, and sea traffic.

The findings appeared in the journal Oceanologia.

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