With each passing year bringing a record number of cruise ships to Copenhagen, the tourism organisations in the capital are increasingly pleased as more and more guests disembark to enjoy the Danish capital.
But environmentalists are not as chuffed. And with good reason, it seems.
A new report from the European Federation for Transport and Environment (T&E) ranked Denmark in the top 10 in Europe when it comes to pollution caused by cruise ships.
The report (here in English) ranked Denmark 10th overall, well ahead of other Nordic capitals and big cities such as Amsterdam and Naples.
Barcelona topped the list, followed by Palma de Mallorca, Venice, Civitavecchia and Southampton, while Lisbon, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Marseille, Las Palmas and Copenhagen completed the top 10.
In the Nordics, Helsinki came in 22nd, while Stockholm (24), Reykjavik (29) and Oslo (44) also made the top 50.
Cruise ships emit large amounts of air pollution in the form of NOx (nitrogen oxides), SOx (sulphur oxides) and the so-called PM2.5 particles – also known as fine inhalable particles.
The report also stated that cruise ships emitted 310,488 kg of NOx, 14,425 kg of SOx and 5,738 kg of particles in Copenhagen in 2017. In comparison, the Danish car fleet (206,000 cars this year) emitted 806,206 kg of NOx, 2,511 kg of SOx and 93,640 kg of fine particles.
The air pollution can have an adverse effect on human health, including an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, cancer and diabetes. In fact, Aarhus University suggests that air pollution accounts for about 4,000 premature deaths in Denmark every year.
Experts point to the need to establish land power stations so that the massive ships don’t need to have their engines on to obtain power when docked in the city.
Another way to combat the issue would be to force the cruise ships to sail on less polluting fuel as many use cheap and heavily polluting oil types today.