Saturday 19 May 2018

Expedition cruise industry addresses plastic waste

#expeditioncruising .

Following pressure by concerned travellers, the industry is moving - albeit slowly - to address the issue of plastic waste.

Small ship cruise companies are at the forefront of this newly-waged "war on plastic".

Hurtigruten will remove everything from plastic straws and cups, coffee lids and plastic bags from all of its ships by July 2, 2018—and the company has the goal of becoming the world’s first plastic-free shipping company.

“At Hurtigruten, we have focused on the problem with plastic pollution for years,” said Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam. “There is a lot of talk about the impact plastic has on our oceans. But it’s time to take action. By getting rid of single-use plastic on board all ships already by this summer, we will hopefully get others to follow. It is possible to act now, and the oceans do not deserve more hesitation.”

As part of its commitment to sustainable tourism, Peregrine Adventures, already a carbon-neutral travel company, recently announced it will ban all single-use plastics (such as straws, cups, and water bottles) onboard its adventure cruising charter trips, providing passengers with reusable cloth bags and refillable water bottles.

Back in 2009, Silversea Cruises installed water filtration systems onboard its ships and, now, suite attendants refill glass carafes in each stateroom with the filtered water instead of restocking with single-use plastic water bottles. The company estimates that it has eliminated the need for about 400,000 disposable water bottles per year.

The Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO) is taking an even more in-depth approach to ridding the oceans of harmful plastics. The organization has hired a seasoned polar tourism professional, Sarah Auffret, to combat marine plastic.

“Marine litter is one of the biggest environmental challenges of our time,” said Frigg Jorgensen.

“An opportunity for the Arctic expedition cruise industry to involve presented itself when AECO received an invitation from Erik Solheim, UN Environment Executive Director, to join the Clean Seas Campaign,” Jorgensen added. “AECO highly supports UN Environment’s Clean Seas campaign and will be taking actions to beat plastic pollution. Now, our commitment has been given additional momentum by the fact that we have been able to secure external funding to further develop our Clean Seas initiatives.”

Auffret has a background as a G Adventure expedition leader on cruises in Svalbard, East Greenland and the Antarctic Peninsula and as base leader of Port Lockroy.

The Adventure Travel Trade Association is also committed to reducing plastic waste and is taking a leading role in reducing the use of single-use plastic water bottles within the adventure travel industry. The organization is currently collecting data, creating education, generating awareness and collaborating with industry partners to create solutions for this growing problem.

Sources include: Travel Pulse

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