cruises and oceans – high impact

Caribbean countries showed their sea some love this week by banning the dumping of all garbage at sea. As one UN consultant working on the pact said, “It’s a big deal.” And it’s been a long time coming – the ban was established,  for all intents and purposes, in 1993. But it’s taken until 2010 for Caribbean countries to get alternative disposal methods in place.

The effect of the ban will depend on enforcement by each country, so let’s keep a close eye on them.

Out in the Pacific Northwest, the nonprofit reporting group InvestigateWest is planning to take a hard look at the impacts of cruise ships on local ecologies. Some cruise lines are trying to be eco-responsible, and some might be just greenwashing. It’s important to track their practices closely – the amount of waste each ship produces is staggering, according to InvestigateWest:

“More than 230 cruise ships operate around the world, generating millions of gallons of waste water every day.  A typical cruise ship with 3,000 passengers and crew members generates more than 200,000 gallons of human sewage, one million gallons of waste water, eight tons of garbage and more than 25,000 gallons of oily bilge water each week.”

Photo courtesy NYDiscovery