Cruiseship calls do not individually increase pollution levels in Tallinn

Port of Tallin (New terminal credit Kaupo Kalda - Port of Tallin)This summer, the Estonian Environmental Research Centre conducted ambient air quality measurements in Tallinn Old City Harbour, confirming that the Port of Tallinn has effectively mitigated the risks of air pollution from ships and cars.

None of the measured pollutants exceeded the limit values.

The analysis showed that the air quality was also affected by general air pollution. This was confirmed by situations where pollutant levels were above average during periods when there was no simultaneous activity in the port.

In addition, separate analyses carried out during the study showed that cruiseships do not individually increase pollution levels. This was also confirmed by the monitoring data, which showed that in some cases there were no higher pollution concentrations during the arrival and departure of cruiseships, and also during the time when the ships stayed in the port.

There were also times during the measurement period when the levels were higher than average, but the wind direction was not from the side of the cruiseship berth, or the pollutant levels were higher even before the cruiseship arrived or left the port, ie the levels were influenced by other sources.

When air pollution caused by cars and ships (both cruiseships and ferries) was compared, the analysis revealed that the NO2 and SO2 levels measured in the port are somewhat higher compared to the Liivalaia monitoring station (city street with intensive car traffic), clearly indicating their origin from ships (cruises and ferries together).

At the same time, there were no big differences in the levels of fine particles, and the levels were completely correlated with those measured in car traffic.

The port and shipping companies have consistently contributed to improving air quality, which has resulted in successfully keeping pollutant levels below the limit values, explains Ellen Kaasik, environmental manager Port of Tallinn.

The Port of Tallinn’s environmental policy is to minimise its operations’ ecological footprint and act environmentally friendly to prevent pollution. It is also a member of EcoPorts, a European port environmental initiative, which shows that the environmental performance of the Port of Tallinn meets international requirements.

The port has invested in onshore power connection for ferries on five quays, installed automatic mooring equipment on three quays, created new light traffic routes and developed new green areas in the port area, explains Sirle Arro, head of marketing and communications department, Port of Tallinn.

This is not the first report of its kind but is an extremely helpful tool for an industry that attracts a lot of attention when it comes to the environment.

In 2018 Copenhagen Malmo Port produced a report on the environmental impact of cruiseships on Langelinie Alle in Copenhagen which also revealed some positive results. Undertaken by FORCE Technology, the location was chosen because of its residential nature. The results state that the NO2 concentrations clearly comply with the limit values and are clearly lower than on H C Andersens Boulevard (one of Copenhagen’s most central streets).

The report adds that the 99.8 percentile shows that, although the average value is clearly lower than other locations in inner Copenhagen, the highest concentrations are higher than at the other locations (except H C Andersens Boulevard). This is attributed to the fact that cruiseships can cause short-term high concentrations that are still below the limit value.

(Port of Tallin, Cruise Europe)