Enjoy view before cruise ships come

Posted: Friday, April 04, 2008

Well, with less than a month to go before the cruise ships start arriving, I'd like to encourage people to get outside and enjoy our beautiful clean and clear air while they can.

Yep, the ever-increasing brown haze associated with cruise ship emissions is on its way back to town, about to settle on top of our community for its annual six-month stay. Hopefully the thousands of tons of acid-generating sulfur oxides, smog-generating nitrogen oxides, and cancer-causing diesel particulates soon to be vented into the air in Gastineau Channel are not permanently damaging to human health and our terrestrial habitat, but common sense and basic science would seem to suggest otherwise. Unfortunately for us, there is no regulation of cruise emissions beyond stack opacity, so we just get to take what they give us.

I see where our Docks and Harbors Board, along with the cruise lines, are proposing new docks for larger ships downtown. It seems that Panamax ships are all the rage among the cruise lines, with post-Panamax ships soon to follow. These ships have much larger capacity, require plenty more electricity while "hotelling" at the dock, and, yep, you guessed it, are going to be emitting a lot more of the noxious pollutants than the ships we see today.

For now, the gorgeous vistas, clean air, and unbeatable views of our capital city remain unobstructed, so friends and neighbors, at the risk of repeating myself, get out there and enjoy it while you can.

Aaron Brakel


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