Today’s Solutions: February 03, 2023

On election day, residents of Key West, Florida, voted to impose new restrictions on cruise ships docking in the city — a move that’s expected to give a much-needed respite to fragile marine habitats in the area.

The island’s residents voted on three ballot initiatives, including one prohibiting cruise ships carrying more than 1,300 passengers from visiting, another to limit the total daily number of passengers disembarking to 1,500, and a third prioritizing dock access for cruise lines with the best environmental records.

“For decades, the City of Key West has done nothing to regulate cruise ships, despite growing local frustrations with the threats large cruise ships pose to the environment, quality of life and sustainable economic growth,” local campaigner against large ships Arlo Haskell explained to EcoWatch.

Other environmental campaigners in the area have also welcomed the initiatives. Surfrider Florida Keys noted that keeping cruise ships away from the port is essential for the good health of local coral reefs, which serve as vital nursery grounds, aggregation spots, habitat, and food source for many marine species.

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