The Problem We Face

In the final episode of the BBC’s ground-breaking wildlife documentary Blue Planet II the true scale of man’s impact on the planet was laid bare. Sir David Attenborough warned that the world’s oceans are turning into a ‘toxic soup’ of industrial waste and plastic, putting the future of humanity at risk. The filmmakers showed the horrifying death of an albatross, whose gut was punctured by a plastic toothpick, as well as the contents of chick’s stomach – a lethal cocktail of polythene bags and plastic food wrappers.

Despite reports highlighting the possible health concerns of plastic pollution, it took Sir David Attenborough to bring the issue to the attention of the public – and the government. And now a new revolution has begun with people finally realising the true extent of our plastics crisis and the UK government has also created a 25-year environmental plan to tackle this problem.

How Cruise Ships Can Tackle This Problem

From an environmental perspective, it’s easy to see how cruise ships have long been one of the harshest modes of travel. They’re big, slow, fuel-hungry, and rife with excess. However, forward-thinking cruise lines are looking to change the game by building greener ships, which uses less energy and produce less emissions. And now, MSC Cruises have also vowed to commit themselves to eliminating single-use plastics from their ships.

MSC’s Plastics Reduction Plan in a Nutshell

* MSC Cruises’ Plastics Reduction Program aims to phase out or replace virtually all single-use plastic items by March 2019 across its entire fleet

* They want to reach their first milestone by the end of this year, when all plastic straws will be effectively replaced with 100% compostable and biodegradable alternatives.

* The Company’s Plastics Reduction Programme will start by phasing out a large number of single use plastic items by the end of March 2019, to be replaced by environmentally-friendly solutions. This will happen on their ships as well as their buildings ashore.

* They are also currently exploring end-to-end recycling for remaining plastic items to be certified by global certification organisation.

Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises’ Executive Chairman, said: “At MSC Cruises, it is our mission to provide guests with the best holiday experiences at sea and we are fully committed to doing so in a sustainable way. For this reason, we are on an ongoing journey to reduce the environmental impact of our ships in operation. The imminent elimination of single-use plastic items from across our entire fleet globally is an additional step that we are taking in that direction. More importantly, under our global environmental stewardship program, it represents yet another step in our overall commitment to conserve and protect our planet’s most precious resource: the seas and the oceans.”

MSC has taken some great steps throughout the years to ensure that they voluntarily make their company better for the environment. Their ships are ready for this new programme and already have state-of-the-art recycling facilities and efficient waste management systems.

MSC also employs a team of dedicated Environmental Officers across the fleet to ensure that their policies are effectively implemented.

By March 2019, all single-use plastic shopping bags, spoons, glasses, stirrers, and other single-use plastic items for which substitution is available will be permanently phased out and replaced by environmentally-friendly alternatives. They will no longer serve items in single serve portions covered in plastic but rather find other convenient and guest friendly solutions. Well done, MSC, this is definitely a step in the right direction.

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