Letter to Venice in Peril from Il Comitato No Grandi Navi A Venezia
11 April 2012
You have been spending money for the protection of Venice for years, financing restorations and operations on the artistic heritage of this city, for which we are indeed grateful, because through your actions you have saved not only priceless works of art but have also drawn international attention to the situation and have spurred Italian institutions to action.
We know that you are equally concerned about safe-guarding and preserving the quality of life in Venice within sustainable development, since this is the only development possible if we want Venice and its inhabitants to survive modernity.
For these reasons, as a committee of Venetian citizens, we are contacting you to highlight the risk which the continuous and numerous entries of massive cruise ships create, not only in St. Mark’s Bay but also in Venice lagoon.
Cruise ship arrivals have increased from 1997 up to today by 439%; this year at least 655 cruise ships will enter the lagoon as well as 350 ferries, all more than 40,000 gross tonnage. Thus, there will be about 2,000 transits at a distance of only a few hundred metres from Palazzo Ducale and the island of San Giorgio Maggiore.
The damage caused by their passage is enormous, and much of it still has to be measured:
- Serious levels of air, atmospheric, acoustic and electro-smog pollution harmful to residents’ health and the conservation of monuments. During their stay in the lagoon, each ship produces exhaust fumes equal to those of 15,000 cars (gas which transforms marble into chalk);
- Erosion of the sea, lagoon and canal beds and destruction of the banks, with irreversible alterations to the hydro-geologic equilibrium of the lagoon;
- An excessive and concentrated flow of tourists who visit Venice in a few hours. In July 2011 there were six cruise ships moored at the same time in Marittima who disembarked 35,000 passengers in a single day into the city, added to the usual 60 -70,000 guests already present daily in the centre.
The economic and financial interests of the navigation companies are putting the very lives of Venice and its lagoon at risk. So as to allow ever larger ships to moor in the city, the Italian government and the municipality of Venice are planning to excavate another canal to connect Fusina and Marittima (60 metres wide and 10 metres deep) which would mean the total devastation of the lagoon eco-system.
Your love for the city of Venice has moved you in all these years to do your utmost for her, and so we implore you to act once again in her favour and to use all the means at your disposal to stop the passage of these monstrous ships in Venice lagoon.
COMITATO NO GRANDI NAVI A VENEZIA