Environmentalists now calling for limits to Palma's cruise ships. | Miquel A. Cañellas


Amics de la Terra Mallorca (Friends of the Earth) have called for an urgent analysis to be made of the impact of cruise ships on Palma and also for a limit to be placed on their number.

The environmental organisation is pointing to the number of ships arriving in Palma each day and to the fact that some have more than 7,000 passengers. There has not been, it argues, any measurement of the impact or of the capacity that Majorca can deal with.

The Balearic Ports Authority's announcement of a study of noise and chemical pollution under the auspices of the University of the Balearic Islands is, the organisation says, a "start", but it stresses the need for more measures. To this end, it sent a letter to the ports authority in June, seeking measures.

The number of cruise ships is seen within the wider context of water shortage and of tourism said to be growing without control. Because of this, Amics de la Terra believes that there is an urgent need to limited the number of large ships which arrive at the same time. This leads to the centre of Palma being overwhelmed, while the organisation points to the polluting effect of ships. "They need to keep the engines running in order to generate electricity, and they produce a huge amount of solid and liquid waste," says a statement from Amics de la Terra. In addition, it is difficult to supply them with fresh water.

The organisation also suggests that the opinion of the people of Palma be taken into account about the suitability of cruise tourism when added to regular tourism.

Calls for a consideration of limits to cruise ships, especially on those arriving at the same time, have come from other sources, including the tourism minister Biel Barceló.