The presentation of the manifesto against giant cruise ships. | Palma XXI

At the offices of the Palma XXI association, a manifesto against mega-cruise ships was presented yesterday. An initiative involving the association, residents' groups and the environmentalists GOB, the manifesto maintains that the increased number of large ships is "not an option for Palma's economic development". This view, the groups stated, is shared by a large part of the public, who want a "sustainable and inclusive" model for the city.

They argue that a critical moment has been reached for "mass tourism in Palma". The social impact can mean that parts of the city have a concentration of some 15,000 cruise passengers on the same day. There are serious environmental repercussions in terms of contamination both on land and at sea; the ships damage biodiversity in Palma Bay. Moreover, the mega-cruise ships do not produce an economic benefit that is proportional to how the lives of Palma residents are affected.

Palma XXI and the other groups are calling on Palma town hall and the Balearic government to adopt measures whereby there will be a daily limit on the number of cruise passengers - 4,000. They also want daily control by the Balearic Ports Authority, which operates the port, to check on environmental impacts and to ensure fiscal and labour transparency. An increase in the tourist tax on cruise passengers to five euros is being demanded, as is the declaration of the Mediterranean as an Emission Control Area on the same lines as one that applies to the Baltic Sea.