Support California's Ship Sewage Dumping Ban

Support California’s Ship Sewage Dumping Ban

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In 2005, Friends of the Earth helped pass the California Clean Coast Act.  This act stems the tide of ship pollution by prohibiting the discharge of numerous waste streams from large ships in California’s waters. Sewage and other harmful pollution have posed a major threat to California’s coastline.

A typical large cruise ship generates 210,000 gallons of human sewage and one million gallons of gray water (from sinks, baths, showers, laundry, and galleys) on a one week voyage. Given that in 2008 1.5 million cruise ships departed from California waters, and California ports received 12,000 cargo ship calls in 2009, it’s clear that unregulated dumping poses a serious threat to the marine resources and economy of California.

California applied to the U.S. EPA in 2006 to implement the sewage dumping ban, known as a “No Discharge Zone.” Thanks to  the joint effort by the State of California, its congressional delegation and Friends of the Earth, the EPA has finally proposed to approve the sewage dumping ban. 

In August, the EPA announced its preliminary decision to establish what will be the largest coastal No Discharge Zone in the United States. If approved, the No Discharge Zone will extend all along California’s 1,600 mile coastline within three miles of shore.

Image: Santa Rosa Island (c) Wolcott Henry 2005/Marine Photobank