Venetian citizens insist: Get those massive cruise ships out of the Bacino.
From the press release, Venice, 11 July
We are a large group of Venice residents and sympathizers from all over the world who are concerned about the fate of Venice.
In recent weeks we have focused our attention on the problem of the negative impact and intensifying traffic of large ships — 610 mega-cruiseships in 2010 — that travel across the unique ecosystem of the Venetian Lagoon and pass just a few metres from Piazza San Marco along a canal that flows through the heart of the precious city.
On 28 April 2011 we sent a letter to the relevant administrations and local authorities, setting out a series of important issues regarding this type of traffic such as air and noise pollution; the hydrodynamic underwater effects that affect buildings especially in proximity to the smaller lateral canals; the opportunity cost to the city of this additional tourism induced pressure in economic, social, environmental and cultural terms. In more than two months, not a single one of the eight institutions that received our letter has replied.
[lv: On the contrary:]
- The Cultural Minister, Giancarlo Galan, president of the Veneto Region for many years, superficially reduced the serious issues raised as a collection of questionable and subjective claims based on merely aesthetic criteria.
- While he was the Mayor of Venice, the current President of the Port Authority, Paolo Costa had highlighted the need to re-route cruise traffic further away from the delicate city centre, but has not yet followed through with a commitment since taking on the Port role.
- The current Mayor, Giorgio Orsoni, has also spoken out against the presence of these big ships in the lagoon on several occasions. But he too has not yet taken a clear stance now that the citizens he represents have asked him to.
Italia Nostra – Venezia* recently launched an appeal to the United Nations (Unesco) regarding the poor management of Venice. A quick scan of the main foreign websites covering Venice also reveals the high level of concern overshadowing our future.
Yet it doesn’t seem as though this concern is shared with those who – above all – should make the destiny of the city and its residents their priority.
We created a Facebook group to collect followers, ideas, suggestions and open a broad debate on this subject in order to inform thinking about a more sustainable future for Venice and the Lagoon. This spontaneous initiative is underwritten by a varied and representative range of political parties, residents associations, pressure groups, local businesses, celebrities as well as single individuals with a shared focus.
We demand some attention: we have concrete proposals that would safeguard tourism and commercial interests as well as guaranteeing an acceptable quality of life for the Venetians, and without compromising the heritage of the city given the environmental impacts and risk factors associated with the passage of the ships through its heart.
We ask for clear responses to these proposals and a clear stance by the relevant public authorities and administrations. There is no time left for just words. If no response is forthcoming, we will not hesitate in going further to confront the city’s administrators and those responsible for deciding port activities in other contexts such as the international organisations overseeing issues like public health, environmental protection, art, culture and heritage preservation, and are best positioned to provide a balanced and objective evaluation of the state of the city and future trends.
The whole world should be exposed to what is happening in Venice.
There is an urgent need to clarify who is responsible for damaging it, who is not, and who is keeping the silence. Venetians want to know.
New members and suggestions are welcome on the Facebook page:
Venetians want to know — along with a lot of other folks. Not sure what they’ll be able to do however, as they’ve just opened a new passenger terminal at Port Isonzo, and Paolo Costa has come up with a grand solution of a one-way passage, “like New York,” that of course would involved digging a whole new canal from the Marittima to Fusina.
If you’re unfamiliar with the situation of the ships in Venice, watch the montage:
* remember you can translate (kinda) any page instantly using the Google Chrome browser, or going to translate.google.com and copy/pasting text.