Cruise Air Pollution Could Jeopardize the Health of Humans and the Environment

For most people, when they think of a cruise vacation, they imagine blue skies, calm waters, and memories made to last a lifetime. This is, after all, part of what has made the cruise industry so popular. Where else can you sit back, put your feet up, and be whisked from location to location, without having to deal with the stress of coordinating transportation? It is no wonder that vacationers are paying top dollar for some of the most luxurious trips on the planet.

Nowhere in the vision of an idyllic cruise retreat is the notion of polluted skies and damaged ecosystems. However, a recent investigation into the health and safety of cruise ship air may give you pause.

As it turns out, there are some public areas aboard cruise ships with higher pollution levels than those in some of the world’s dirtiest cities. The major culprit, according to this most recent investigation, are the “ultra-fine particles” from the ships’ engines. These particles are so small that they are easily absorbed into the bloodstream through inhalation.

Air Pollution Impacts Health on Multiple Levels

The concerns here are twofold. First, the ultra-fine particles pose serious health risks for passengers who may be downwind of the exhaust funnels. This is where the particles tend to spread across the deck nearest to the funnels. When exposed to such a high concentration of pollutant, air specialist Dr. Mathew Loxam explains that passengers could experience, “runny nose, cough, dry eyes or a higher risk of asthma attacks. For those that are pre-disposed, there may be a higher risk of stroke or heart attack.”

While a runny nose and dry eyes are inconvenient, a stroke or heart attack are cause for serious concern. Far too many passengers suffer symptoms of stroke and heart attack on cruises as it is. Could this be due to dangerous conditions aboard the ship? That is yet to be fully understood.

Unfortunately, human health is not the only thing put at risk by cruise ship pollutants. The health of the environment is another concern. Even with the current pollution regulations in effect, cruise ships are still spilling out air pollution with an incredibly high sulphur content. Daniel Rieger of the German environment association NABU (Nature And Biodiversity Conservation Union) explains the situation: “Per day one cruise ship emits as much particulate matter as a million cars. So 30 cruise ships pollute as much as all the cars in the United Kingdom.”

Research Before You Go

When put it into context like this, it is easy to become concerned about the impact that cruise ships may have on personal health and the current state of the global environment. While it is useful to take these concerns into consideration, finding all of the information yourself can be overwhelming. Fortunately, the organization Friends of the Earth releases a cruise ship report card each year, so that you can better understand which cruises have the least detrimental impact. This information can allow you to book your cruise with confidence.

That said, we understand that, even with the most careful attention to detail, accidents, injury or illness can happen when you least expect. So when you need a maritime lawyer who you can trust, our firm is here to help.

We are prepared to help take the weight of your legal burden off of your shoulders. So do not hesitate to contact us.