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A New Perspective at the Ship-Air-Sea-Interface: The Environmental Impacts of Exhaust Gas Scrubber Discharge

Review article
Authors Sonja Endres
Frank Maes
Frances Hopkins
Katherine Houghton
Eva Mårtensson
Johannes Oeffner
Birgit Quack
Pradeep Singh
David R. Turner
Published in Frontiers in Marine Science
Volume 5
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of marine sciences
Language en
Keywords Author Keywords:scrubber; sulfur emissions; shipping; air-sea interface; surface ocean; biogeochemistry; exhaust gas cleaning system KeyWords Plus:OCEAN ACIDIFICATION; EMISSIONS; SULFUR; POLLUTION; CARBON; PHYTOPLANKTON; CONTAMINANTS; COMMUNITIES; NUTRIENT; REGION
Subject categories Ocean and River Engineering, Water in nature and society


Shipping emissions are likely to increase significantly in the coming decades, alongside increasing emphasis on the sustainability and environmental impacts of the maritime transport sector. Exhaust gas cleaning systems ("scrubbers"), using seawater or fresh water as cleaning media for sulfur dioxide, are progressively used by shipping companies to comply with emissions regulations. Little is known about the chemical composition of the scrubber effluent and its ecological consequences for marine life and biogeochemical processes. If scrubbers become a central tool for atmospheric pollution reduction from shipping, modeling, and experimental studies will be necessary to determine the ecological and biogeochemical effects of scrubber wash water discharge on the marine environment. Furthermore, attention must be paid to the regulation and enforcement of environmental protection standards concerning scrubber use. Close collaboration between natural scientists and social scientists is crucial for progress toward sustainable shipping and protection of the marine environment.

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