Cargo Transport Leading to Arctic Pollution

A new report warns us about air pollution from ships in the high Arctic, to increase air pollution from shipping.

Although the report is called “Air pollution from marine vessels in the U.S. High Arctic in 2025,” its findings are of concern to the entire Arctic region.

It is estimated that shipping could increase in the next 10 years anywhere from 150 percent to 600 percent due to Arctic ice melt,

Ships burn a high-sulphur content bunker fuel and the engines also emit soot, also known as black carbon. Marine vessels are a large source of greenhouse gas and air pollutant emissions, which impact local air quality, human health, and the global climate. Reduced sunlight reflection and an increased rate of heat absorption and melting, is due to soot covering snow and ice surfaces.

Issues of infrastructure needs and projections of shipping estimates based on potential oil and gas exploration and other development in the Arctic were dealt with, in earlier studies, but did not address the issue of air pollution or its affects. Switching to higher quality, low-sulphur fuel would have a very noticeable beneficial effect.