Palma still battling cruise pollution problems. | Majorca Daily Bulletin reporter


Despite the restrictions on cruise ships in the Port of Palma, it does not appear to have done much good with regards to protecting the environment.

According to the findings of a study by the UK’s Transport & Environment department, Palma is the fourth most polluted cruise port in Europe.

Toxic air pollutants from cruise ships are back to pre-pandemic levels, leaving Europe’s port cities choking in air pollution, a new Transport & Environment study shows. Despite the introduction of the UN shipping body’s sulphur cap in 2020, last year Europe’s 218 cruise ships emitted as much sulphur oxides (SOx) as 1 billion cars.

The analysis also shines a light on the benefits of cities taking action to address cruise ship pollution.
The port of Venice saw air pollutants from cruise ships fall 80% following the city’s ban on large cruise ships.

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In 2019, the city ranked as the most-polluted port city in Europe but fell to 41st place after implementing a ban on cruise ships in 2021. It shows that it is possible to tackle air pollution, says T&E, which calls for greater electrification at ports in order to save lives.

Barcelona was Europe’s most polluted port last year followed by Civitavecchia, a coastal port northwest of Rome, the Athenian port of Piraeus and then Palma.

Analysis from T&E UK earlier this year showed that in 2021, UK shipping produced 22 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions from burning 7 million tonnes of dirty fossil fuels. 2 million tonnes of that pollution – around 10% – occurred in UK ports. Alongside greenhouse gases, burning marine fuels produces an array of harmful air pollutants including oxides of sulphur and nitrogen, which can cause or exacerbate asthma and other respiratory health problems.

Most polluted cruise ports in Europe
Barcelona, Spain
Civitavecchia, Italy
Piraeus, Greece
Palma Mallorca, Spain
Lisbon, Portugal
Hamburg, Germany
Southampton, UK
Mykonos, Greece
Thira, Greece
Funchal, Portugal