Large Cruise Ships Produce As Much Air Pollution In One Day As 1,000,000 Cars


The next time you think about booking a cruise vacation, you might try to visualize a million cars. That’s the equivalent air pollution that a big Carnival or Royal Caribbean-type cruise ship emits in a single day.

It’s a stunning number, and is almost hard to fathom. But it’s the result of cruise ships using heavy fuel oil, basically the waste product of refining other petroleum or diesel. This hugely dirty fuel is cheap, and cruise ship companies thrive on offering cheap vacation packages.


The Independent has a disturbing article that exposes much of this information, including a climate scientist who measured the air pollution onboard a ship, finding that cruise participants, as well as the air in general, suffer.


A lot of cars, visualized. But this isn’t even close to a million. 

We scoured the “stewardship” pages of several cruise ship websites, and they give vague promises to clean up their ship’s pollution. This includes switching to liquified natural gas, which burns much cleaner, but has major environmental issues of its own. But most of these plans are years away.  And meanwhile, hundreds of cruise ships prowl the seas everyday, entering beautiful natural areas to dock.

Next time you vacation, it might be wise to consider something other than a cruise. More info via The Guardian: