by Alexia Vlachou
ATHENS, April 18 (Xinhua) -- Greece's major port of Piraeus is taking measures to address the sources of pollution from ships and industrial activities in the area, the Piraeus Port Authority S.A. (PPA) has said.
The measures focus on the efficient management of wastes, the monitoring of noise, water and air quality, energy efficiency and energy savings through technological advances, according to the PPA, which is operated by China's COSCO Shipping.
"We elaborated an integrated environmentally assessment study which includes not only the activities of the port, but also the future projects and how the environmental aspects will be when they are set in full operation in the future," Chrysanthi Kontogiorgi, head of PPA's environmental department, told Xinhua in a recent interview.
As a member of the EcoPorts network, a network of European ports that have been evaluated for their environmental performances, PPA collaborates with overseas experts and universities for the monitoring and analysis of environmental indicators, the company said on its website.
"Our collaboration with the Piraeus Port Authority is a very nice example of cooperation between a private organization and a university. It is a very useful way to exchange knowledge," Evangelos Bakeas, associate professor of analytical chemistry at Athens University, told Xinhua.
For its environmental performance, PPA was honored with a Special Award in the "Environment" category last month in Athens at the 4th Annual Sustainability Summit, which was organized by the Center for Sustainability and Excellence (CSE) and the MBA International of Athens University of Economics and Business.
"We are in a continuous process to monitor our actual footprint on the environment," Kontogiorgi said.
"Any new activity has a potential impact on the environment," Bakeas said, stressing that the best solution is to combine economic activities with green development.
PPA is also exploring alternative marine fuels, such as liquified natural gas (LNG) and electricity, to reduce its carbon footprint and mitigate environmental challenges emerged by the port's new development plans.
"For the expansion of the cruise terminal, we are working on the solution to supply electricity to the ships. The other pillar is the LNG supply to ships. Both are under the umbrella of the deployment of new installations for the port to be prepared for the changes of 2020 with the clean fuel," Kontogiorgi said.
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has imposed a global sulphur cap of 0.5 percent on fuel, effective from Jan. 1, 2020. It has also targeted the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions from 2008 to 2050 by 50 percent.
Renewable energy can play a crucial role as well, Kontogiorgi said, adding that she believes renewable energy could be the best solution to address challenges of on-shore power supplies and supplies to ships.