SHIPS: AN ENVIRONMENTAL THREAT?
A typical cruise ship passenger generates about two pounds
of burnable waste, 1.5 pounds of food waste and another
pound and a half of glass and tin per day. A typical cruise
ship on a one-week voyage produces approximately eight tons
of garbage, as well as one million gallons of “graywater”
(wastewater from sinks, showers, galleys and laundry), 210,000
gallons of sewage, and 25,000 gallons of oil-contaminated
water, according to the Bluewater Network.
“The cruise industry has a track record as a repeat offender
of environmental laws,” said Kira Schmidt, Director of Bluewater
Network's Cruise Ship Campaign. “Several cruise lines have
been caught illegally and intentionally polluting our waters
by dumping oil, garbage and hazardous wastes at sea as well
as in our ports. This legacy of pollution, coupled with
the inadequacy of existing regulations and oversight of
the industry, clearly adds up to the need for action to
address the significant pollution being caused by cruise
The cruise industry brought more than 640,000 travelers
to Alaska last year, while cruise ships brought more than
400,000 passengers to the Caribbean in 2000. In less than
three years, the cruise industry plans to introduce 47 new
ships to the North American fleet, up from today's 144.
Cruise ships are suspected of polluting Alaska’s waters
26 times in the last nine years, according to an Associated
Press computer-assisted analysis of marine pollution records.
In Florida, 60 such instances are documented.
Cruise ships have also paid huge fines in the last few years
for pollution violations. From 1993 to 1998, cruise ships
were held responsible for 104 confirmed cases of illegal
discharge of oil, garbage, and hazardous wastes, and required
to pay more than $30 million in fines, the EII said.
In 1998, Royal Caribbean pled guilty to a total of 21 felony
counts in six U.S. jurisdictions, and agreed to pay a record
$18 million in criminal fines.
Last year, the company was fine $500,000 for dumping near
Records show that pollution from cruise ship has included
oil, hydraulic fluid, plastic, paint and other chemicals.
But cruise lines claim to have cleaned up their act. Today,
Royal Caribbean distributes an environmental report that
touts “a vacation resort, complete with infrastructure.”
Other cruise lines supply cardboard shampoo and lotion bottles,
and offer guests the option of reusing towels.
Schmidt isn’t convinced, however.
“The rapid rise in cruise ships plying our waters, the pattern
of pollution violations, and the lack of adequate oversight
all point to the need to better monitor and regulate the
pollutants cruise ships are discharging into our waters,
offloading at our ports, and emitting into our air,“ she
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Andy Summa is a freelance writer in Sugar Land, TX.
Rise of Medical Tourism, Restorative Retreats, and Wellness
People are flocking to spas that offer medical care and
holistic healing arts as well as spa meals, spa facilities,
fitness and bodywork classes -- all in beautiful, relaxing,
often ocean-side locations. Some choose to recover from
difficult medical procedures in the serenity of such spas,
others go to them for a revitalizing and rejuvenating
vacation that combines the spa pampering with a tailored
Naturopathic evaluation and treatment workup, or
detoxification, for example.