The list, compiled by NABU (Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union) was presented in the past days, and regarding this year’s ranking, 90 vessels were checked on their emissions’ impacts, especially on contribution to air pollution levels.

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In 2019, 21 of these vessels berthed or are scheduled to berth at Malta’s Grand Harbour, with many of them coming several times throughout the year. In total, Malta will have to face 122 port calls of cruise ships of the worst category in 2019.

On the other hand, cruise ships equipped with technologies that reduce air pollution caused by exhaust systems execute only 33 port calls.

The findings of this year’s evaluation demonstrate that only a small proportion of the cruise ship fleets is becoming cleaner, while the industry by large continues to rely on heavy fuels and fails to employ exhaust technology. The climate footprint of cruise ships is especially worrying: all ships are fuelled by fossil fuels producing enormous greenhouse gas emissions

BirdLife Malta said.

Commenting on this finding, NABU CEO Leif Miller said that 'suppliers flood the market with more giant vessels every year, all being operated by fossil fuels.'

In addition, Janina Laurent, Policy Officer at BirdLife Malta, commented that in Malta, air pollution is a major threat to human health, the environment and the quality of life for Maltese citizens, particularly in cities.

Even though surrounded by sea and highly dependent on shipping traffic – knowledge and awareness of the problems resulting from ship emissions remain widely unknown and action from responsible government authorities is not being taken

She added that health-related external costs from air pollution exceeding €182 million per year and 44,000 workdays are lost each year because of sickness leave related to air pollution according to the latest EU’s Environmental Implementation Report.