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The terminal where the gigantic cruise ships, which sail the seas of the globe with thousands of passengers on board, come to Marseille (Bouches-du-Rhône), is located a few hundred meters at the foot of Michèle’s garden. She attends from this belvedere on the sea the procession of these behemoths accompanied by their procession of noxious smoke. Up to six liners can parade here each day.

Barely believable figure: when stopped at a dock, a cruise ship emits as many sulfur oxides as a million cars! “I cleaned the day before yesterday and generally I do it every day. This is what we breathe every day. We smell of sand, it is oily, see this black dust. It is very anxiety-provoking”, she said to the magazine “1:15 pm on Saturday” (replay) while cleaning a kind of soot which came to settle on the windowsill of one of the windows of her house offering a splendid view of the Mediterranean.

“We take full lungs”

“As soon as you are a little tired you wonder what you are going to develop. A lot of very athletic people [dans son entourage] who did not smoke, with a perfectly correct lifestyle, all developed problems on the tracks: lung, throat cancer … “ this local victim of the cruise industry boom, which takes seven million travelers to Europe each year, testifies. However, it cannot rely on any study in the neighborhood that would make a direct link between this pollution and cases of cancer.


The anxiety of the locals is growing along with the number of cruise passengers. They thus met in a collective. “At the start, it’s beautiful, it’s positive for boats like that, but when you learn about the pollution it generates. We who are twenty meters above the sea, our noses are practically on the chimneys of these ships. We take our lungs full, knowing that we already have the maritime traffic of container ships, cargo ships … “ said one of them. Another adds: “We were there before the port, there is no reason to leave. We are the roots of these territories.” In 1996, he passed 60,000 cruise passengers here. Without the unprecedented health crisis linked to the Covid-19 coronavirus, there would have been two million this year!

> Replays of France Télévisions info magazines are available on the Franceinfo website and its mobile application (iOS & Android), “Magazines” section.



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