Dirty dreamboats | DocFilm | DW | 13.08.2019
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Dirty dreamboats

Ocean cruises are booming, but the downside is massive air pollution from the ships’ exhaust fumes. The cruise industry's billion-dollar business is extremely lucrative - and a threat to coastal cities.

Watch video 42:36

The cruise industry generates annual sales of up to 6.4 billion Euros in Germany alone. But the people who live in the port cities on the North and Baltic Seas are footing the bill. Even in the Mediterranean, people are exposed to physical stress from the liners’ exhaust fumes. New studies by universities in Rostock and Munich confirm that exhaust gases from ships can cause inflammations of the lungs and even strokes. The cruise industry has repeatedly extolled the virtues of more environmentally friendly ships, but will they really make much of a difference? The film examines whether solutions such as shore power or liquefied petroleum gas are actually being used and, if so, what effect they are really having. The growing number of cruise ship passengers isn’t just generating environmental pollution; it is also causing economic and social harm in the ports that the liners call at. For example, tourists are swamping small settlements in Norway's fjords, and Venice is concerned about the effects on its precious buildings. Moreover, the tourists’ money largely remains in the coffers of the shipping companies. More and more cities now want to limit the number of cruise liners docking at their jetties.