Cruise Ship Pollution Concerns In South Boston

BOSTON (CBS) – Taking a cruise is one of the most popular vacations, but there is an environmental downside. The massive ships burn the dirtiest type of fuel, even when they’re sitting in port. And for something as large as a floating city, a ship needs to generate a lot of power, around the clock, running its own generators.

“It’s just not efficient to run those generators consistently, particularly when they are running on very polluting fuels like bunker fuel which is one of the most polluting fossil fuels,” said Ryan Black of the Sierra Club. “When you have residential areas like South Boston which is right down the street from the port here… you have issues of asthma, but also heart disease, cancer, and any other kind of respiratory illness.”

The cruise industry has never more been more popular around here. In 1986, there were just 13 cruise ships in Boston serving about 12,000 passengers. Last year those numbers jumped to 117 ships with more than 380,000 passengers.

One solution to avoid the generation of so much pollution in port is to have ships plug into shore power when they are docked. That requires some changes to the infrastructure, but ports like Los Angeles and Brooklyn have been able to start making those upgrades. If ships are powered off the grid, that electricity is increasingly renewable like wind and solar. Noxious emissions can be cut by 95% percent.

Congressman Stephen Lynch, who lives within walking distance of the port of Boston, is concerned about the level of pollution created by the ships. Lynch has filed bills in the last three years trying to get some federal assistance for a big project like upgrading the electrical infrastructure along the docks. “We …read more

Source: CBS local Boston


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