Cruise passengers are unaware of the “harmful” impact of the unregulated industry on marine life and human health

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Large cruise ships can generate emissions and kill wildlife, scientists say (Getty Images)

People who choose to go on cruises are unlikely to be aware of the “detrimental” impact of the largely unregulated industry on marine life, human health and the environment. weather, warned the scientists.

Big cruise ships may have a carbon footprint over 12,000 cars – and are a major engine of air, water and land Pollution, according to a one-of-a-kind review.

The industry also poses a significant potential risk to physical and mental health, according to the review, with those on board and those living on neighboring lands affected.

Write in the journal Marine Pollution Bulletin, the researchers argue that the cruise industry “should be held responsible” for its growing impact on the environment and human health.

“I don’t think anyone goes on a cruise with the idea that it’s going to harm the environment, but unfortunately that’s what they do,” said study author and director Professor Lora Fleming. of the European Center for Environment and Man. Health at the University of Exeter, said The independent.

“At this time of discussion we all have about climate and environmental change and how we might change our own flying and travel habits, I think we need to shed some light on that.”

Before the pandemic, the cruise industry was one of the fastest growing in the tourism industry. From 2012 to 2018, the number of active cruise ships worldwide increased by 48%.

The review, which assesses more than 200 scientific papers, is the first to assess the environmental and human impacts of the cruise industry.

Several of the articles included show how cruise ships are contributing to the climate crisis.

A study found that passengers on a seven-day cruise in Antarctica emit as much CO2 as the average European in an entire year.

A second study found that a night on the average cruise ship used 12 times more energy than a night in a hotel.

Travel ships also pose a significant risk to marine life, according to the study. “Collisions with marine mammals and sea turtles are a major problem,” the scientists write.

Cruise ships pose a risk to traveling sea turtles, finds (Beacon Development Company / Hector Barrios)

Cruise ships pose a risk to traveling sea turtles, finds (Beacon Development Company / Hector Barrios)

Another problem is waste. While cruise ships make up only a fraction of the global shipping industry, they account for about a quarter of all waste produced by the sector, according to the study.

Cruises have also been linked to the spread of infectious diseases, scientists said.

In the first months of the Covid-19 pandemic, more than 40 cruise ships have confirmed positive cases of the virus on board.

The first ship to face a major epidemic, the Diamond princess, recorded 700 cases in February 2020. Nine people on board have died.

Scientists behind the new research are calling for more international regulation of the largely unsupervised industry.

“There isn’t a lot of mandatory monitoring of how much waste or how much carbon they produce. There is no coordinated global effort to do it, ”said Professor Fleming.

“Our article highlights that cruising is a prime example of how the destinies of our health and our environments are linked,” added Dr Josep Lloret, lead author of the study and researcher at the University of Girona in Spain.

“We now need global legislation to minimize the damage to our oceans and to our health.”

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