Cruises are dangerous for the environment
It is becoming increasingly apparent that pollution of the seas and oceans is horribly more worrying. Turtles, whales, and other marine species, in particular, are suffering because of the constant human action that does not calculate the future risks that this may pose.
There is no doubt that cruise ships have many environmental concerns, from waste disposal to toxic painting to the creation of noise that can harm marine life. In fact, marine pollution is so widespread that it interferes with human life, causing serious health problems, dumping large amounts of sewage and other waste into the oceans, polluting beaches, contaminating coral reefs and destroying marine ecology.
The US EPA estimates that a 3,000-person cruise ship generates 210,000 gallons of sewage weekly. In 2014, cruise ships threw more than 1 billion gallons of untreated sewage into the ocean. The CO2 emissions of a cruise ship are over 1000 times higher than those of a train ride.
The problem of pollution of the seas and oceans, also by ships, only deserves public debate when they create major disasters, as happened recently in Brazil, where several marine species were killed after oil was discarded in the sea.
There are several chaos of dead whales with huge amounts of rubbish from plastic and bottles in their stomachs. But this requires a greater awareness of society about better measures that do not undermine the stability of the environment, with more particularity of ecosystems, species that are being daily extinct.
There are currently more than 40,000 ships in the world today, a number that is increasing daily with massive production – this challenges countries to adopt mechanisms so that the environment is not the victim of such market production, which is mainly focused on tourism and often without paying due attention to the visible consequences for the environment. Just to clarify, the ships have fuel-powered engines that generate the main pollution-causing gases, that is, the main contributors to climate change and greenhouse effect changes, being these gases: nitrogen oxides (NOx), oxides of sulfur (SOx), carbon monoxide (CO) and non-volatile organic compounds (NMVOC).
Marine fuels are primarily sulfur dioxide, one of the most dangerous air pollutants and major contributor to global warming. Because of these ills caused by sulfur, some ships have switched to cleaner fuel. Even with low sulfur content, this “clean” fuel is controversial, since its use requires an amount of oil, making it bad for the environment, because the more oil is burned, the more pollution is expelled.
What damage has caused? Both sulfur and nitrogen dioxide would cause acid rain that could affect respiration. In addition, these harmful substances would cause damage to ecosystems, soil, water, lakes and coastal areas. Of course, it is not in the interest of leisure ships to pollute the sea, which is their biggest breadwinner, but it was important to realize that respect for the environment is not just a moral obligation, it must be punished by law and adopted mechanisms to mitigate such problems.
The environmental impacts? In just one week a 3,000-passenger ship produces 75,000 liters of human waste, over 370,000 liters of water from toilets and dishwashers, and about eight tons of solid waste and toxic laundry waste. This is what the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports. More than asking where this will end, we need to ask ourselves how much we want to perpetuate this evil that not only affects the lives of marine species, but also all of us.
Sérgio dos Céus Nelson
Journalist, Freelancer and Human Rights Activist
COO at Sustainable Media
Communication Officer at Lúrio University