sábado, 21 de maio de 2016

The world's largest cruise ship and its supersized pollution problem / Navios de cruzeiro poluem mais que milhões de carros

Navios de cruzeiro poluem mais que milhões de carros

O jornal britânico The Guardian publica um trabalho sobre poluição dos navios de cruzeiro, a propósito da viagem inaugural do maior navio do mundo, Harmony of the Seas, amanhã, a partir de Southampton.

22-5-2016 / 18:30 Francisco Ferreira da Silva

Quando amanhã à tarde o maior navio de cruzeiros do mundo, o Harmony of the Seas, deixar o porto de Southampton para a viagem inaugural, porá em funcionamento três gigantescos motores a diesel e os 6.780 passageiros e 2.100 tripulantes vão, por certo, dizer, alegremente, adeus a Inglaterra. Ao mesmo tempo, muitos dos que ficam em Southampton vão sentir-se felizes por vê-los ir embora, noticia o The Guardian que refere o enorme rasto de poluição deixado pelos navios.

“Podemos cheirar, ver e até sentir o gosto” do fumo expelido pelos motores dos navios de cruzeiros, refere o jornal britânico. “Estes navios são como blocos de apartamentos flutuantes”, refere o jornal, acrescentando que, por vezes, chegam a estar cinco e mais navios deste tipo nas docas de Southampton ao mesmo tempo. “O vento leva o fumo dos navios directamente para o coração da cidade e ninguém monitoriza a poluição que provoca”

Os cruzeiros são a área turística com o crescimento mais rápido nos últimos anos e os navios tendem a ser cada vez maiores. O Harmony of the Seas tem 362 metros de comprimento, por 66 de largura e 72 de altura – o equivalente a um prédio de 20 andares. De acordo com a Royal Caribbean, proprietária do navio, os três motores de 16 cilindros – com a altura de quatro andares –, consomem 1.377 galões (5.212.5 litros) de fuel por hora, ou seja 96.000 galões (363.399,5 litros) por dia de um combustível altamente poluente.

Analistas de poluição marítima em Bruxelas e na Alemanha, citados pelo The Guardian, dizem que um navio daquela dimensão deve queimar, pelo menos, 150 toneladas de fuel por dia e emitir mais enxofre que alguns milhões de carros, mais dióxido de azoto que todo o tráfego de uma cidade de tamanho médio e mais partículas que milhares de autocarros de Londres.

Bill Hemmings, especialista de marinha no grupo ‘Transport & Environment’, sediado em Bruxelas, disse ao The Guardian que: “Estes navios queimam tanto fuel como cidades inteiras. Usam mais combustível que os navios de contentores e mesmo quando queimam fuel com baixo teor de enxofre, é cem vezes pior que o diesel da estrada”.

“A poluição dos navios em todo o mundo é responsável por cerca de 50 mil mortes prematuras só na Europa e tem um custo para a sociedade de mais de 58 mil milhões de euros”, diz o referido grupo ‘Transport & Environment’ no seu website, citado pelo jornal britânico. Ainda assim, as companhias de navios de cruzeiros têm investido na investigação de meios para reduzir as emissões de gases poluentes, refere o The Guardian.

Numa infografia que acompanha a notícia, o The Guardian refere as emissões de um grande navio de cruzeiros, comparadas com o número equivalente de automóveis. Assim, um destes navios emite tanto CO2 como 83.678 carros, tantos óxidos de azoto como 421.153 automóveis, tantas partículas como um milhão de veículos e tanto dióxido de enxofre como 376 milhões de carros.

The world's largest cruise ship and its supersized pollution problem
As Harmony of the Seas sets sail from Southampton docks on Sunday she will leave behind a trail of pollution – a toxic problem that is growing as the cruise industry and its ships get ever bigger
Campaigners say such huge ships can emit as many air pollutants as five million cars going the same distance.

John Vidal
Saturday 21 May 2016 08.00 BST

When the gargantuan Harmony of the Seas slips out of Southampton docks on Sunday afternoon on its first commercial voyage, the 16-deck-high floating city will switch off its auxiliary engines, fire up its three giant diesels and head to the open sea.

But while the 6,780 passengers and 2,100 crew on the largest cruise ship in the world wave goodbye to England, many people left behind in Southampton say they will be glad to see it go. They complain that air pollution from such nautical behemoths is getting worse every year as cruising becomes the fastest growing sector of the mass tourism industry and as ships get bigger and bigger.

According to its owners, Royal Caribbean, each of the Harmony’s three four-storey high 16-cylinder Wärtsilä engines will, at full power, burn 1,377 US gallons of fuel an hour, or about 96,000 gallons a day of some of the most polluting diesel fuel in the world.

In port, and close to US and some European coasts, the Harmony must burn low sulphur fuel. But, says Colin MacQueen, who lives around 400 yards from the docks and is a member of new environment group Southampton Clean Air, the fumes from cruise liners and bulk cargo ships are “definitely” contributing to Southampton’s highly polluted air.

We can smell, see and taste it. These ships are like blocks of flats. Sometimes there are five or more in the docks at the same time. The wind blows their pollution directly into the city and as far we can tell, there is no monitoring of their pollution. We are pushing for them to use shore power but they have resisted.”

The liners pollute, but the road traffic that they and the cargo ships generate is also huge,” he adds.

Royal Caribbean, the US owners of the Harmony of the Seas, said that the latest and most efficient pollution control systems were used and that the ship met all legal requirements.

Industry body Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) added that companies had “invested significantly over the last decade to develop new technologies to help reduce air emissions”.

But marine pollution analysts in Germany and Brussels said that such a large ship would probably burn at least 150 tonnes of fuel a day, and emit more sulphur than several million cars, more NO2 gas than all the traffic passing through a medium-sized town and more particulate emissions than thousands of London buses.

According to leading independent German pollution analyst Axel Friedrich, a single large cruise ship will emit over five tonnes of NOX emissions, and 450kg of ultra fine particles a day.

Bill Hemmings, marine expert at Brussels-based Transport and Environment group said: “These ships burn as much fuel as whole towns. They use a lot more power than container ships and even when they burn low sulphur fuel, it’s 100 times worse than road diesel.”

Air pollution from international shipping accounts for around 50,000 premature deaths per year in Europe alone, at an annual cost to society of more than €58bn [ $65bn],” says the group on its website.

Daniel Rieger, a transport officer at German environment group Nabu, said: “Cruise companies create a picture of being a bright, clean and environmentally friendly tourism sector. But the opposite is true. One cruise ship emits as many air pollutants as five million cars going the same distance because these ships use heavy fuel that on land would have to be disposed of as hazardous waste.”

Nabu has measured pollution in large German ports and found high concentrations of pollutants. “Heavy fuel oil can contain 3,500 times more sulphur than diesel that is used for land traffic vehicles. Ships do not have exhaust abatement technologies like particulate filters that are standard on passenger cars and lorries,” says Rieger.

Southampton, which has Britain’s second largest container port and is Europe’s busiest cruise terminal, is one of nine UK cities cited by the World Health Organisation as breaching air quality guidelines even though it has little manufacturing.

Up to five large liners a day can be berthed in the docks at the same time, all running engines 24/7, said Chris Hinds, vice chair of the Southampton docks watchdog group WDCF. “Pollution from the port is leading to asthma and chest diseases. We are now seeing more, bigger liners but also very large bulk cargo ships.”

According to CLIA, the cruise ship industry is now one of the fastest growing sectors in the mass tourism market, with 24 million passengers expected to sail in 2016, compared to 15 million in 2006 and just 1.4 million in 1980.

The industry shows no signs of slowing down. It generated $119.9bn (£83bn) in total output worldwide in 2015, supporting 939,232 full-time equivalent jobs,” said a spokesman.

The luxury sector is seeing the most amazing growth that it has ever seen in its history,” said Larry Pimentel, president of Azamara club cruises.

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