Cruise shipping as a health risk for coastal communities in the Arctic: Legal and technical solutions
|Session Name||2.5 Arctic tourism development: Prospects and challenges?|
|Author(s)||Stefan Kirchner (University of Lapland, Finland)|
Air pollution from ships is estimated to cause about 50,000 premature deaths per year in Europe alone. With the melting of the Arctic sea ice, the Arctic Ocean is becoming more accessible for long-distance shipping. The boom experienced by the cruise ship industry in recent years already includes a dramatic increase in cruise tours to the Arctic. Often small Arctic communities are barely able to handle the influx of large numbers of passengers and the associated strain on local infrastructure (e.g. concerning waste disposal). The absence of dockside electricity sources means that ship engines have to be kept running in port. This results in increased air pollution for nearby communities and increasing health risks. In this presentation, which is part of ongoing research on environmental health rights and the shipping industry, it will be shown that existing technology and existing legal mechanisms on the international level can be used effectively to reduce the health risk for crew members, passengers and local residents in coastal communities. Bringing together research on health, the environment, ship technology and international law, it will be shown that the costs for reducing such health risks are limited and predictable and that they would be outweighed also economically by the benefits for coastal communities and that it would also be a good business decision for ship operators to take action which serves the environmental health rights of everybody involved.
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