Sea traffic constitutes half of the air pollution in coastal regions

We all know that air quality is detriorating due to human deeds. But, have you ever imagined what contributes to air pollution in coastal regions the most? Are you thinking of pollution due to transport like cars and bikes or industries that emit tonnes of black smoke in the air, then possibly you are wrong. It the sea traffic that constitutes half of the air pollution and emits hazardous nanoparticles, says a new study.

In a first study of its kind, researchers have found that nanoparticles from cars, industries, biomass combustions and natural particles from the sea contribute nearly 50 percent of the total air pollution, rest comes from the sea traffic.

Lead researcher Adam Kristensen from Lund University, Sweden, said that previously they 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. However, it was mind boggling to see sea traffic emitting nanoparticles in a large amount in the air and no one pointed towards it.

For the study, researchers monitored air flow between southern Sweden and Lithuanian coast via Baltic sea. With the help of measuring stations, researchers measured the amount of nanoparticles present in the air and were astonished to see the results. Finally, the study authors calculated the proportions of pollutions contributed by each — cars, sea traffic, industries and other.

While explaining the negative effects of the nanoparticles, Kristensen said that nanoparticles are very harmful and can cause serious injuries. Due to their small size, nanoparticles get very deep into lungs and can cause havoc triggering pulmonary as well as cardiovascular diseases.

The study was published in the journal Oceanologia.

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