HELSINKI, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) -- Sulphur emissions from ships in the Baltic Sea area have declined dramatically since the tightening of regional regulations in 2015, Finnish transport safety agency Trafi said Monday.
The change has been reflected in the quality of the air in seaside Helsinki. Compared with 2014, the emissions of sulphur oxides showed an 88-percent reduction, and emissions of small particulates, a 36-percent decline.
Since 2015, border inspectors from Trafi have been checking the compliance of incoming ships with the new fuel norms in Finnish ports. The reach of surveillance operation was expanded widely this July.
Under the new regulation, the maximum sulphur content of fuel went from 1.0 percent to 0.1 percent.
Jorma Kamarainen, a senior expert at Trafi, told Xinhua the global norm was still at 3.5 percent. However, the 0.1-percent level already prevails in several water segments around Europe and North America.
An International Maritime Organization meeting in London next month will review the possibilities of bringing the global norm down to 0.5 percent.
"Whether this takes place in 2020 or 2025 depends on the possibilities of the oil industries to produce required quantities of the stricter norm fuel," Kamarainen said.
The Finnish Meteorological Institute announced on Monday that the decline in sulphur oxides in the air had been confirmed at a measuring station in Helsinki. Quality of air in Helsinki was better in 2015 than it had been in previous years.
Jorma Jalkanen, a senior expert at the institute, underlined in a press release the immediate impact of the sulphur norms on the quality of the air.
"The decline in the small particulates is also attributed to the sulphur norms," he said.
Jalkanen said nitrogen oxides and carbon dioxides had kept increasing in maritime emissions.