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How much we pollute when we go on vacation. The carbon footprint increases even 25 times in August

August is the holiday month. In the big cities, it seems that there are fewer cars on the streets, but also cleaner air. However, it is a false sensation, say environmental experts. Carbon dioxide emissions are reaching alarming levels. A calculation shows that the Bucharest-Thassos road, by car, leaves in the atmosphere a carbon dioxide footprint of almost 68 grams, even 25 times more than in a day of driving to the office.

For most of us, summer means vacation. We visit our parents, grandparents or simply go to explore new places. It is that time of year when we want to recharge our batteries, run away from congestion, and especially from pollution. However, we do not take into account the negative impact that travel has on the environment.

We start polluting from the moment we choose our vacation. All-inclusive packages are the most convenient, but we do not take into account that they are also the ones that pollute the most, due to food waste. Ideally, we should look for hotels that have included menus in their offer and not a Swedish buffet, because most of the food is thrown away from the buffet.

We also pollute when we pack our bags. We stuff our suitcases with all kinds of creams, lotions, serums and other care products. Plastic, plastic and plastic again. It is recommended that we take only what is strictly necessary. A sunscreen, a shampoo and a hair conditioner are enough.  

The road to the destination is by far the most harmful. Profile estimates show that 30% of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere are caused by means of transport. The plane is considered by most of us to be extremely polluting. However, mathematical calculations show a different reality.

Several factors must be taken into account: the fuel used, the distance traveled, the number of passengers, but also the road infrastructure. The electric car is the least polluting, but in order to go on vacation you have to make sure that you have charging stations on the route.

The plane emits the largest amount of carbon dioxide, but it gains detached because it covers long distances in a very short time.  

Carbon footprint by means of transport

  • electric car: 53 g CO2e / km / pers
  • petrol car: 192 g CO2e / km / pers
  • diesel engine: 171 g CO2e / km / pers
  • train: 6 g CO2e / km / pers
  • coach: 105 g CO2e / km / pers
  • plane: 255 g CO2e / km / pers  

Source: https://ourworldindata.org/

Accommodation is responsible for 20% of the total carbon dioxide emissions of the entire tourism sector. These data are not at all surprising in the context in which a single hotel consumes more than 20 kilowatts of electricity and 645 liters of water per guest per day.

To reduce waste and reduce pollution, some cities have taken steps to limit the number of tourists.

In Amsterdam, for example, the flow of tourists has been monitored for several years and Airbnb rental services have been banned. The authorities are working on new tourism projects, through which to redirect visitors to other neighboring cities.  

In order for tourism to be more environmentally friendly, it also depends on the choices that each of us makes. Choose to visit less crowded places and use your bike as much as possible when moving from one place to another. Not only is it good for your health, but your carbon dioxide emissions are zero. Stay in places that support sustainable tourism and avoid waste of any kind.

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