Air pollution is still a serious threat to human health in Europe. Numbers published by the European Environment Agency from 2019 show that international shipping is the prime emitter of particulate matter and sulphur oxides as well as a major source of nitrogen oxides in Europe. Especially the Mediterranean coastline with its hundreds of small but also densely populated port cities is affected by the shipping sector’s air pollution. As air pollutants are transported up to 400 km depending on wind directions even areas in the hinterland are affected. For the North and Baltic Sea littoral states already took action more than 10 years ago and opted for the establishment of an emission control area for sulphur and nitrogen oxides (SECA and NECA) at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
It was not until December 2019 when all Mediterranean countries finally agreed on a roadmap to take up action on air pollution from ships too. If these countries stick to their plan we will most likely see a Mediterranean SECA in force as of 2024. At our online workshop we would like to present the potential benefits deriving from the designation of a MedECA for the region, potential shortcomings and loopholes based on what we have learned from the ECA regulation in northern Europe and what the important next steps are. Moreover we will also provide an outlook on how effective air pollution reduction is linked to climate protection efforts.