Vacations are a break from the hard truths of reality, however maybe we should look further into the reality of our vacations. The cruise industry made 117 billion US dollars in 2017, since then that number has only increased. This industry began in the early 1900s as the only method of travel across seas, as the invention of the airplane was just surfacing. In the 1950s however the “jet age” had begun and proved to be more convenient for traveling across seas. Instead of cruise ships becoming obsolete, in 1985, they began being seen as an option for recreation and sightseeing. The effects of this however are devastating.
Fifteen of the world’s largest cruise ships cause more pollution than all of the cars in the world.
More soot is emitted by one ship than a million cars. In one simple day at sea, a ship will emit more sulfur dioxide than thirteen million cars. It is estimated that 40,000 to 100,000 Britans die prematurely every year due to the emissions from these ships. These statistics are only part of the amazing dangers the cruise industry has caused to the world.
The fuel burned on these ships is much dirtier than the fuel in our cars. 249,000 liters of this fuel is burned in one day at sea. In order to pass environmental standards they use “scrubbers” to clean the low grade dirty diesel fuel. However all the things removed from the fuel end up being dumped in the ocean because it would be illegal to dump it on land. In order to stop ocean pollution by these ships they would have to use expensive fuel and stop using scrubbers. To make sure that this fuel is staying clean would require constant testing and openness about the results of these tests. Another contribution to water pollution is the spilling of human waste. In a week a cruise ship generates 150,000 gallons of human waste and in international waters it is 100% legal for this waste to be dumped into the water. To assist in the ending of water pollution, this waste would need to be treated and tested before being dumped twenty-four nautical miles from the shore.
There are many other dangers associated with oceanic travel. There are problems with air pollution for example. Many of the chemicals used in the ships can decrease the air quality for its passengers significantly. The chemicals and fumes can also have terrible effects on port cities. One of the major chemicals used is nitrogen oxide which can cause cancer and other respiratory issues, while also putting the environment in danger causing things like acid rain.
While these cruise ships may add fun into traveling by being like a small city, they cause the pollution of a large city. Vacations are an important part of life, providing an escape from your day to day life but you must remember that your vacation can be causing major environmental danger if you are not carefully planning.