Holistic evaluation of the environmental impacts of shipping in the sensitive region of Ria de Aveiro

A. Monteiro, V. Rodrigues, A. Picado, J.M. Dias, N. Abrantes, A. Ré, M. Rosa, M. Russo, A. Barreirinha, M. Potiris, M. Aghito, R. Hänninen, E. Majamäki, T. Grönholm, U. Alyuz, R. Sokhi, Jaakko Kukkonen, J.-P. Jalkanen

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Shipping activity can be a substantial source of pollution and impact on the environment, including air, water and ecosystems, as well as adverse health and climatic effects. Due to the distribution of maritime transport activity routes in the EU, a large portion of the population is exposed to shipping pollution throughout Europe. The ongoing European project EMERGE aims to investigate and quantify these impacts over Europe, and in more detail, in specific case studies regions. The Aveiro lagoon region in Portugal is one of these case studies. This region is a Natura 2000 area, and also includes a medium-sized port. Both air quality and water modelling tools were applied to assess the impact of the emissions and discharges from shipping (to air and water) in the region in 2018. Additionally, ecotoxicological impacts were determined by bioassays to evaluate the impact of scrubber-water discharges on the most sensitive stages of marine invertebrates, and on the post-exposure feeding inhibition of crustacean and bivalve species. The results show that there was a substantial increase in atmospheric pollutant concentrations due to emissions attributed to shipping, which was most relevant for NOx and SO2 (up to a 30 % shipping contribution). There was no significant degradation of the water quality, mainly as the ships operating in this area did not have scrubber equipment. The ecotoxicological tests were performed with three samples of scrubber water, including one artificial sample and two samples collected on-board ships. If scrubber water would have been discharged in this area, the results indicated that the majority of the tested species would be exposed to lowest observed effect concentration (LOEC) for the different scrubber-water samples, as well as to substantial concentrations of metals, PAHs, and alkylated PAHs.
Original languageEnglish
Article number174314
Pages (from-to)1/12
Number of pages12
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Early online date27 Jun 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Jun 2024


  • Shipping
  • Impacts
  • Environment
  • Air quality
  • Water quality
  • Ecosystem


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