Landmark ban on cruise ships aims to prevent tourists from overrunning vacation spots: ‘[They’re like a] plague of locusts’

Amsterdam has taken a major step in protecting its air quality by banning cruise ships from its city center, the BBC reports.

Amsterdam has been making a major push to clean itself up, both in terms of the environment and in limiting the tourism that has overwhelmed the city, the BBC says. The Netherlands’ capital has developed a reputation as a party city, which City Councilor Ilana Rooderkerk says has led to masses of visitors descending like a “plague of locusts.”

The city certainly sees a lot of cruise ship traffic. According to the BBC, more than 100 cruise ships each year moor at Amsterdam’s central cruise terminal on the River IJ.

A study in 2021 found that those ships produced as much nitrogen oxide air pollution as 30,000 gas cars. Those findings are in line with another recent study that found one company’s cruise ships produced as much sulfur air pollution as all the cars in Europe — and it’s not so hard to believe when you realize that an average large cruise ship burns 250 tons of fuel each day.

All of that air pollution causes breathing problems for the people being exposed, not to mention its effect on the environment. Many kinds of air pollution trap heat on Earth, warming up the planet, destabilizing the weather, and creating major disasters, including hurricanes and heat waves.

One city banning cruise ships will not stop the clouds of pollution that these vessels spew into the air every day. But it will move the source of the pollution away from the heavily populated city center, protecting Amsterdam residents and workers from the fumes.

The move will also make it that much harder for tourists to pile into the city.

According to the BBC, it is possible new terminals will be opened further from central Amsterdam. However, there are no specific plans in place yet.

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