Why Is the World’s Largest Cruise Ship Being Termed as the “Pollution Giant”?

by Deepti S3 months ago
Picture Why Is the World’s Largest Cruise Ship Being Termed as the “Pollution Giant”?

Who wouldn’t want to spend their vacation on the world’s largest cruise ship? Cruise ships have become very popular for their breathtaking ocean views and endless entertainment.  Despite their grandeur, the largest cruise ships are also causing toxic pollution. One ship in particular, the largest in the world as of December 2023, Harmony of the Seas, has come under fire for the environmental impact of its visits. Why is this colossal ship under scrutiny? Let us find out.

Southampton Residents Claim they Can Smell, See, and Taste the Pollution from the World’s Largest Cruise Ship!

Harmony of the Seas can accommodate over 6,000 people
Harmony of the Seas can accommodate over 6,000 people. Image Credit: Jillian Cain Photography/Shutterstock.com

Residents of Southampton, England, are expressing concerns about health risks, including asthma and chest pain, linked to air pollution caused by Harmony of the Seas and other huge ships visiting their port. The largest cruise ship causing pollution, Harmony of the Seas, with its capacity for thousands of passengers, reportedly emits fumes so severe that locals can smell, see, and even taste them in the air.

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People living near the docks, around 366 meters away, claim the fumes from cruise liners and bulk cargo ships significantly contribute to the city’s poor air quality. This happens when the winds blow emissions into the surrounding neighborhoods. At times, five or more massive ships will be docked simultaneously. However, according to locals, there does not appear to be any monitoring of the pollution coming from the cruise and cargo vessels.

The community has advocated that ships use shore-side electrical power while in port to reduce this pollution. However, shipping companies have reportedly resisted implementing this cleaner technology. Residents also point to road traffic generated by passengers and goods moving to and from the ships as another source of poor air quality.

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Critics Say Harmony of the Seas Lacks Proper Emission Controls Despite Industry Claims of Investment.

Inside view of Harmony of the Seas
Inside view of Harmony of the Seas. Image credit: SpaceEconomist192/Wikimedia.org

While the creators of the Harmony of the Seas, Royal Caribbean, asserts it has invested in green technologies, experts express doubts about the vessel’s emission levels and their effects on climate change.

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At its massive size, the world’s largest cruise ship causes pollution, which has been problematic to the extent that, reportedly, it burns over 150 tons of fuel daily. This would result in sulfur emissions exceeding several million cars and nitrogen dioxide higher than a small city’s traffic. Particulate pollution from the cruise ship could surpass thousands of London buses.

Though Royal Caribbean and industry groups say the latest control systems are installed, the fuel needs of a ship this large are difficult to ignore. Transportation makes up the vast majority of pollution from cruise ships. So, measures like solar panels likely have minimal effect. Critics argue Harmony uses 35% more fuel yearly than prior Royal Caribbean designs and equals 77,000 American homes’ annual energy consumption.

The cruise line aimed to cut its carbon footprint per passenger by a third. However, launching ships of escalating size seems to distance the industry from environmental stewardship rather than align with it.

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The Gigantic Harmony of the Seas Can Carry 6,780 Passengers!

Harmony of the Seas is bigger than its two previous versions Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas.
Harmony of the Seas is bigger than its two previous versions Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas. Image Credit: Vintagepix/Shutterstock.com

At 1,188 feet long with a gross tonnage of 226,963 tons, Harmony of the Seas surpasses its sister Oasis-class ships, Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, in overall size.

Harmony of the Seas can accommodate up to 5,479 passengers at double occupancy or a maximum of 6,780 guests, as well as 2,100 crew members. This massive ship signifies the new size boundaries for modern cruise ship construction.

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Picture Why Is the World’s Largest Cruise Ship Being Termed as the “Pollution Giant”?
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