Cruise-ships put Lisbon in 6th place on pollution ranking

Lisbon’s zeal to attract cruise ships has paid off in economic spades, but there is a major flip side: pollution.

According to a study, the capital is now the 6th most polluted European city by cruise liners which emit 86 times more sulphur oxides than all the cars in Portugal.

Compiled by the European Federation of Transports and Environment – and publicised in Portugal by environmental association ZERO – the results spell increased threats to people with cardio-respiratory problems, and contribute to the ‘acidification’ of both land and sea.

It’s clearly a Catch 22 situation: Portugal will not be making moves to reduce cruise-ship traffic anytime soon.

But as ZERO explains, it makes no sense for the government to make such a fuss about the pollution caused by diesel and petrol cars “which have so little sulphur in comparison to these veritable floating cities”.

The association is calling for “tighter controls” on cruise-ship emissions, stressing that maritime fuel has a much higher concentration of sulphur oxides than road vehicle fuel.

As for Lisbon’s ‘European ranking’, the study found the ‘most polluted’ city to be Barcelona, followed by Palma da Mallorca, Venice, Civitavecchia (Rome) and Southampton.

Hopes now are that Europe will “rapidly implement new rules for European ports” which will push boats towards ‘zero emission’ goals.

The Federation behind the study recommends that areas where emissions are controlled should also be widened. Says RTP news, at present, controls are only made in the North and Baltic seas, and in the English Channel.

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