Air quality represents one of the environmental aspects to be managed to ensure the protection of Venice. This reflects the priority given to issues related to the health of people working or living around the port areas, in line with the European policy that aims to control the exhaust emissions of air pollutants by vessels. The ex Venice Port Authority (VPA), now North Adriatic Sea Port Authority (NASPA), has studied the extent to which transiting cruise ships impact the air quality in the city of Venice. Real-time measurements have provided broad understanding of the impact of ships to the air quality in the Port of Venice. This understanding led ex VPA to start promoting, already in 2007 an agreement between the main cruise companies, the Venice Harbour Master and the Venice Municipality for the adoption of fuels with lower impacts to the environment. According to this agreement, indeed, cruise companies aim at safeguarding the City’s environment by using vessels fuels with low percentage of Sulfur.
Environmental benefits of the “Venice Blue Flag” implementation have been calculated: the net benefit of VBF is very clear. Even if there is an increasing of costs related to the adoption of distillate fuel (between 1.100.000 € and 1.500.000 €), the reduction in terms of marginal external costs is definitely more significant (estimated 2.000.000 €), thus confirming that the voluntary agreement represents an effective solution balancing environmental, economic and feasibility aspects. Moreover, several researches conducted both in the framework of EU projects and by ARPAV (local environmental protection agency) pointed out that these voluntary agreements are good short term solutions, considering different possible measures that could be adopted in order to reduce port activities emissions in Venice.
In 2018 the Agreement involved also the Venetian tug companies, which, during their activities voluntary adopt and use fuels with percentage of Sulphur lower than 0.1%. Also in 2019 the VBF has been renewed.
Moreover, in December 2018 an Agreement for air quality monitoring has been signed between NASPA and ARPAV. NASPA committed to buy an air monitoring station to be located in a logistic terminal in Porto Marghera area (Fusina area) to enable ARPAV to monitor and manage data acquired. Data elaborated by ARPAV from this station are meant to be treated with data acquired from other air monitoring stations located in Venice to assess effects of mitigation measures implemented by the Port of Venice.