Cruise ships are harmful to human health and the planet, say academics – who have been calling for the maritime industry to be regulated to minimize the risks. The researchers have to say that cruises are potential sources paving the way for human health risks. The staff, passengers, and residents living near ports or are employed in shipyards may be at risk.
This includes the unprecedented spread of diseases, including Covid-19, on some of the cruise ships. Experts have also researched and found that air and noise pollution impacts health and the working environments, making life more difficult for shipyard and boat staff.
The international team of expert researchers has highlighted that cruising was a major source of environmental pollution and ecological degradation, with water, soil, air, fragile habitats, and wildlife dramatically affected.
They combined evidence from over 200 research papers on the health of individuals and the environment in different seas and oceans globally.
Professor Lora Fleming said that cruise tourism had been rapidly expanding in the pre-Covid-19 times. Research also shows how it causes significant impacts on the environment and human wellbeing.
There is an immediate need for improved monitoring standards to generate more holistic data to receive the whole picture of the impacts. Without strictly enforced international and national standardized rules and regulations, the cruise industry may continue contributing to serious environmental and health hazards.
Dr. Josep Lloret from the University of Girona has said that their research highlights cruising as a prime instance of how the fates of environment and health are intertwined.
Until now, most researchers have considered the aspects in isolation.
The consolidated review combined the papers on a host of factors that have health and environmental impacts, and/or both. Research shows that a large cruise ship can have a carbon footprint that exceeds that of 12,000 cars.
Passengers on Antarctic cruises yield as much CO2 when on an average seven-day voyage as the average European in a year. In the Mediterranean, ferry and cruise ship CO2 emissions are about 10% of total ship emissions.
The paper includes research on solid wastes as an instance of how activities on cruise ships can affect the environment and health.