Big cruise liners are devastating the Venice lagoon damaging not only the environment but also creating a health hazard for residents, environmental groups warned on Monday.
According to a dossier drawn up by the Associazione AmbienteVenezia, the Citizens Coordinating Committee Against Big Ships and the Permanent NoMOSE assembly, the Venice lagoon ''is being permanently devastated to satisfy the interests of a restricted lobby,'' that of the operators of the cruise liners.
The passage of these ships through the lagoon, the report claimed, ''damages Venice's health, its environment and monumental heritage''.
The report was presented along with a petition signed by 1,645 residents of Venice asking that immediate action be taken.
''The damage done to the seabed and shoreline from the cruise dock terminal to the gardens of the Biennale was documented photographically from February through April. It is our conclusion that the damage was done by the enormous amount of water which is displaced by passing liners, some of which are up to 300 meters long,'' the report said.
The ships also are a source of air pollution, the dossier added, ''caused by the use of fuels which have been outlawed by the European Union but which are still available here because of delays in adopting EU directives on a national level''.
The seabed in the lagoon is being destroyed by the propellers of the giant ships which are ''totally out of proportion in regard to the city and its ecosystem,'' the report concluded.