This week marks the end of the FIIAPP-managed project for controlling polluting emissions in Turkey in which the Euro-Asian country, like the European Union, has adopted Annex VI of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL)of the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
Under this heading, Turkey can and is obliged to control emissions of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen and substances that destroy the ozone layer produced by both domestic and foreign ships which, among their most serious consequences, affect the health of the population. A resounding success in efforts to reduce them considering that Turkey did not have any type of regulation in this area despite being a strategic country for commercial shipping with points like the Bosphorus Strait. Each year 50,000 ships pass through this point, which equals the number of ships in circulation worldwide.
“That doesn’t mean that all the ships in the world pass through the Bosphorus, but rather that as many ships pass through as there are in the world, emphasizes Cibrán Fernández, the FIIAPP Resident Adviser in charge of coordinating this project, as a general reflection. The team of this twinning project calculated that in 2013 in this zone and in the Dardanelos Strait and the Sea of Marmara, 40,000 tonnes of sulphur dioxide particles and 8,500 tonnes of particulate matter were produced, which include gases, smoke, dust and aerosols.
According to the European Commission, ships that transport goods generate around one billion tonnes of polluting emissions per year. Moreover, it is calculated that in all of Europe, this pollution is very detrimental to the respiratory and cardiovascular system and causes 50,000 premature deaths each year. The emissions can reach land from as far as 400 kilometres away. In the case of the coastal city of Istanbul, there are 15 million inhabitants.
Approval of annex six of MARPOL was done under the umbrella of the twinning project between the Spanish Ministry of Public Works and the Turkish Ministry of the Environment and Forestry, managed entirely by the FIIAPP. In addition to this achievement, the project involved a series of other activities. “Their inspectors were trained to enable them to enforce this legislation, a specific action plan was created for Turkey for reducing emissions, and a proposal was created for a control zone for ships in the Sea of Marmara and in the Bosphorus and Dardanelos straits”, explains Fernández.
This project is ending after two years of work subsidized with one million euros from the European Union, and it is bearing fruit by paving the way for a 25% reduction in emissions by 2015. “I believe it is going to provide great benefits in terms of air quality for millions of people, for natural environments and for cultural heritage, which are also affected”, concludes the FIIAPP expert.