Posts Tagged air damage

Cruise opponents see dark lining in Sunshine’s arrival

Charleston residents battling the cruise ship industry say Carnival Cruise Lines’ plans to have another cruise ship depart from here next year is proof that their fight is a necessary one.

“I think we knew it was coming,” said Carrie Agnew, executive director of the Charleston Communities for Cruise Control, which has bought billboards and pursued legal action to torpedo the cruise industry’s growth here.

The addition of the Carnival Sunshine and its 3,000 potential passengers has reinforced Cruise Control’s message and already added to its mailing list, Agnew said.

“There are those who just don’t see the big picture and say, ‘Everything is fine now. Why should we be concerned?’ ” Agnew said. “So many people also have said, ‘Charleston is at a tipping point.’ I stood up at a meeting and said, ‘We’re not at a tipping point. We’ve tipped over,’ and now we’re adding more fuel to the fire.”

On Monday, Carnival Cruise Lines announced it will add five departures from Charleston next year for the Sunshine. Carnival’s Fantasy, which holds about 1,000 fewer passengers, will continue to call Charleston its home port.

The Sunshine will offer cruises of between two and 10 days between Charleston and ports in the Bahamas, St. Thomas, Antigua, Martinique, St. Kitts and San Juan.

State Ports Authority director Jim Newsome said the port will maintain its level of fewer than 104 cruise ship departures next year.

One of the biggest issues in Charleston’s yearslong cruise ship fight is fear that the city eventually will be overrun by larger ships carrying ever more passengers and calling on the city more often.

City and State Ports Authority officials say those concerns are unfounded, and they have agreed to limit cruise ships to no more than an average of two calls here a week, and no more than one at a time. Opponents want those voluntarily limits written into a law.

Cruise ship supporters have said the industry is an important part of the Lowcountry’s larger tourism economy, a source of jobs and a continuation of an activity that this port city has had from its earliest days.

Opponents said they don’t want to ban all cruise ships, but they want the authority to consider sites other than Union Pier, and sites farther from the city’s historic district, for its new cruise ship terminal. Legal wrangling over that site — the 60 acres between Market, Washington and Laurens streets and the harbor — has slowed the state’s plans to redevelop the blighted area.

Cruise opponents also said not enough is being done to address traffic congestion caused by ship visits, air pollution from smokestacks, noise from ship horns and public address systems, and the visual impact on the city’s historic skyline. They have filed legal challenges in both state and federal courts.

Blan Holman, managing attorney for the Charleston office of the Southern Environmental Law Center and a lawyer for the cruise ship opponents, said the news of the Sunshine’s visits here next year shows the cruise industry can get bigger in Charleston.

“And that just makes thorough review of a new, larger terminal more important than ever to make sure we examine all options for reducing pollution and traffic and impacts on families and neighborhoods,” he said.

Randy Pelzer, head of the Charles Towne Neighborhood’s cruise ship task force, said news of the Sunshine’s arrival doesn’t mean much in terms of current legal battles, “but I think it points out that residents aren’t consulted in terms of the larger number of cruise ships that impact them.”

“I was surprised there wasn’t any effort to notify the residents ahead of time, that we found out about it after it was a done deal,” he added, “but that’s the way it has been from the beginning.”

Reach Robert Behre at 937-5771.
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Air samples at cruise ship docks worldwide find dangerous levels of deadly soot

Tests in Manhattan, Venice, Germany show urgent need for lines to upgrade pollution controls

NEW YORK – Air samples taken near idling cruise ships in New York and three European ports contained dangerously high levels of soot, according to test results released by Friends of the Earth US and the Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union of Germany. The groups said the tests underscore the urgent need to install more modern air pollution reduction technology with filters that can all but eliminate deadly soot emissions.

At each port — New York, Venice, Italy and Hamburg and Rostok, Germany — samples taken by NABU with an ultrafine particle counter contained hundreds of thousands of microscopic ultrafine particles of soot per cubic centimeter of air. In New York, the sample contained 201,000 ultrafine particles of soot per cubic centimeter while the cruise ship Norwegian Gem was idling on Nov. 15, 2013. (See video of the test.)

Direct comparison with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency soot standards is not possible, because EPA includes somewhat larger particles, counts their mass rather than their number and measures their concentration over time rather than at peak levels. But the latest research indicates that the health hazards of ultrafine particle pollution, which are inhaled deep into the lungs, are the same as for other particles — heart problems, respiratory illness and premature death.

By comparison with the measurements of hundreds of thousands of particles per cubic centimeter at the cruise ship docks, NABU measured only 5,000 particles per cm3 in the center of Berlin.

“These extremely high measurements at the cruise ship docks are from the use of heavy fuel oil or bunker fuel and lack of pollution control technology,” said Dr. Axel Friedrich, formerly an air quality expert with the German federal environmental agency, who led the testing. “Without particle filters, cruise ship engines must operate continuously at the dock to keep the lights on, releasing huge quantities of toxic gases that harm public health.”

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NABU and Friends of the Earth are campaigning to get cruise lines worldwide to install state-of-the-art air pollution control technology which can reduce the amount of soot emitted by up to 99 percent. The campaign is focused on Carnival Corp. of Miami, the largest cruise company in the world, which operates 10 cruise lines, under various brand names, in the U.S. and Europe. Although some of Carnival’s lines, such as AIDA Cruises of Germany, have installed such equipment, Carnival has not done so for all of its lines and ships.

“It’s unacceptable that some Carnival Corporation ships will be installing state-of-the-art air pollution controls, but not the entire fleet,” said Marcie Keever, oceans and vessels program director of Friends of the Earth U.S. “It’s time for Carnival to stop dragging its feet, not only on the health and safety of its passengers but of people in the ports where it calls. If Carnival cares about people and the planet, the company should install the most health-protective technology on all ships, across all of the lines it operates, to keep the air we breathe clean and healthy.”

Leif Miller, CEO of NABU, said the World Health Organization considers soot as carcinogenic as asbestos.

“These measurements now demonstrate for the first time how much worse air pollution in ports is made by the pollution from idling cruise ships,” said Miller. As the cruise industry continued to grow rapidly, this means that every year more and more passengers and residents of port cities are exposed to deadly soot. Since the technology needed to clean up emissions is here today, this is unacceptable.”

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Contact:
Marcie Keever, (510) 900-3144, mkeever@foe.org
Adam Russell, (202) 222-0722, arussell@foe.org

– See more at: http://www.foe.org/news/news-releases/2013-12-air-samples-at-cruise-ship-docks-worldwide-find-dangerous-soot-lvls#sthash.7tbMGXRs.dpuf