Tackling Air Pollution in Coastal Communities

Tackling Air Pollution in Coastal Communities

Cruises have become a popular vacation choice, often synonymous with sunbathing on a beach, swimming in blue waters, gazing up at palm trees. The reality is far worse.

When docked in ports, large ocean vessels like cruise ships, keep some of their engines running to maintain internal ship operations. This means that ships are spewing harmful emissions into the atmosphere for long periods of time, which worsens local air quality and contributes to climate change. We’re working to change that.

Friends of the Earth’s oceans team is focused on safeguarding public health and our oceans by calling for shore power — a technology that connects docked ocean vessels to the electric grid, allowing ships to turn off their diesel engines when not at sea. In practice, this technology massively cuts greenhouse gas emissions and reduces air pollution to protect people and the planet. According to our analysis of the Port of Charleston, shore power cut ships’ emissions up to 98%!

As part of Friends of the Earth’s efforts to bring this revolutionary technology to Miami — which is rife with cruise ships — our staff worked with a local paper to put pressure on county officials to increase the port’s shore power accessibility. And our advocacy paid off, with the Miami-Dade mayor’s office announcing plans to bring shore power to PortMiami!

This victory would not have been possible without the support of our members — especially the 26,000 petition signers who demanded that major cruise line companies curb their air and water pollution. The shore power victory in PortMiami shows that grassroots activism has the power to take on massive, polluting industries. When we band together, we win!

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