News - December 2015

The mortality effect of ship-related fine particulate matter in the Sydney greater metropolitan region of NSW, Australia

CAR's investigators Associate Professor Geoffrey Morgan and Dr Martin Cope are authors of a new important publication

This study investigates the mortality effect of primary and secondary PM2.5 related to ship exhaust in the Sydney greater metropolitan region of Australia. A detailed inventory of ship exhaust emissions was used to model a) the 2010/11 concentration of ship-related PM2.5 across the region, and b) the reduction in PM2.5 concentration that would occur if ships used distillate fuel with a 0.1% sulfur content at berth or within 300kmof Sydney. The annual
loss of life attributable to 2010/11 levels of ship-related PM2.5 and the improvement in survival associated with use of low-sulfur fuel were estimated from the modelled concentrations.
In 2010/11, approximately 1.9% of the region-wide annual average population weighted-mean concentration of all natural and human-made PM2.5 was attributable to ship exhaust, and up to 9.4% at suburbs close to ports. An
estimated 220 years of life were lost by people who died in 2010/11 as a result of ship exhaust-related exposure (95% CIβ: 140–290,where CIβ is the uncertainty in the concentration-response coefficient only). Use of 0.1% sulfur
fuel at berth would reduce the population weighted-mean concentration of PM2.5 related to ship exhaust by 25% and result in a gain of 390 life-years over a twenty year period (95% CIβ: 260–520). Use of 0.1% sulfur fuel within
300 km of Sydney would reduce the concentration by 56% and result in a gain of 920 life-years over twenty years (95% CIβ: 600–1200). Ship exhaust is an important source of human exposure to PM2.5 in the Sydney greater metropolitan region. This assessment supports intervention to reduce ship emissions in the GMR. Local strategies to limit the sulfur content of fuel would reduce exposure and will become increasingly beneficial as the shipping industry expands.
A requirement for use of 0.1% sulfur fuel by ships within 300 km of Sydney would provide more than twice the mortality benefit of a requirement for ships to use 0.1% sulfur fuel at berth.

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