Spanish island of Mallorca seeks to limit environmentally unfriendly cruise ships in their harbor

Going on a cruise may sound like a fun vacation, but it turns out cruise ships are environmentally unfriendly, which is why the residents of Mallorca have issued a manifesto against megacruises to prevent them from doing any more damage to their island.

The Spanish island is a tourism hot spot and popular destination for cruise ships, which often dock in the harbor there and unleash unsustainable waves of travelers that cause overcrowding with up to 15,000 tourists every day, who also likely dispose their trash on the island.

According to the manifesto:

The tourism of megacruises at Palma has increased in unsustainable and undesirable ways for our city, causing a serious environmental and territorial impact as well as growing social protests.

The size and number of the ships that arrive to the port has increased, the number of visitors has tripled and several megacruises accumulate on the same day.

Not only that, the cruise ships themselves do even more environmental harm to the ocean and ecosystems within it.

Maritime transport pollutes a thousand times more than terrestrial. The megacruises contaminate the water, they work with the cheapest fuel in the market that emits sulfur dioxide and harmful particles for health. Moored in the harbour, they use a less harmful type of fuel but generate more than 200 times the pollution caused by a highway. Palma is the second city most contaminated by cruises in Europe, after Barcelona, as informed by Transport and Environment.

Megacruises make greywater downloads 4 miles off the coast. Such a vessel generates 200 to 400 thousand cubic meters of waste. 24% of the total solid waste found in the seas are generated by cruises.

Megacruises damage the biodiversity of the sea floor due to the currents they generate to shift their tons of their own weight and, moreover, contaminate acoustically during the time they are moored.

Maritime travel currently represents three percent of the carbon emissions released into the atmosphere, but more and more ships are beginning to turn to a past technology known as rotor sails to reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

But the residents of Mallorca have a point. These cruise ships are doing damage to the waters around the island and the tourists who flock there from the ships are doing harm to the landscape and culture. Mallorca has the right to protect their citizens and the environment they rely on.

If enough people sign the manifesto, the government will have to act, and the number of cruise ships docking there would be reduced so that the environment can recover.

It’s okay for people to visit Mallorca because tourism still brings in revenue. All they are asking for is some time to breathe and live their lives without the crushing waves of tourists that arrive every day on ships that contribute to climate change.

Featured Image: Wikimedia

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Stephen D. Foster Jr.

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