Air Quality and Atmospheric Emissions from the Operation of the Main Mexican Port in the Gulf of Mexico from 2019 to 2020

Pablo Sánchez Álvarez, Rodolfo Sosa Echeverría

Journal of Marine Science and Engineering  | Volume 11  Issue 2 

Autores: Ana Isabel González Rivera, Violeta Mugica-Álvarez, Rodolfo Sosa Echeverría, Pablo Sánchez Álvarez*, Víctor Magaña Rueda, Gustavo Vázquez Cruz and Armando Retama

* Ciencias Ambientales | Contaminación Ambiental



ollutant emissions into the atmosphere derived from port activities can be transported to surrounding regions and cities depending on wind speed and direction, having an impact on air quality. In this research, emissions of atmospheric pollutants (NOx, CO, NMHCs, CO2, SO2, TSP, PM2.5 and PM10) were estimated for: tanks, container, roll-on/roll-off (RO-RO), bulk carriers and general cargo ships, using emission factors in the hoteling and maneuvering stage in the port area of Veracruz, Mexico, during 2019 and 2020 despite the suspension period of activities due to the SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 pandemic. Among the total estimated emissions, CO2 presented the highest values for 2019 (31,177 kg/year) and 2020 (29,003 kg/year), whereas CH4 presented the lowest values with 0.294 kg/year for 2019 and 0.273 kg/year for 2020. The highest estimated emissions for CO2, NOx and SO2 occurred in the maneuvering stage in 2019 for bulk carriers, tanks and container ships. Likewise, the highest estimated emissions were during the hoteling stage of the container ships in 2020. This study will provide an updated ship emissions inventory for the Gulf of Mexico region where the Port of Veracruz is located. In addition, SO2 and PM2.5 measurements were performed from October 2019 to December 2020. PM2.5 concentrations exceeded the Mexican Ambient Air Quality Standard (MAAQS) value of 45 µg m−3 for the 24-h average concentration several times, on the opposite, SO2 exhibited concentrations up to 20 times lower than the 24-h MAAQS value of 40 ppb. Results showed that pollutant emissions in the port of Veracruz exhibited a seasonal variability, modifying their dispersion and the possible effects. Our main conclusion is that current port area is the major source of pollutant emissions (SO2 and PM2.5) throughout the year, whereas the expansion area of the port of Veracruz does not represent still a significant rise of pollutant emissions, but it is expected that the growth of port activity will directly increase the concentrations of pollutants emitted.