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Some 20 million people board cruise ships every year. And while they might return to land with fond memories of umbrella drinks and shuffleboard, they leave a lot at sea. About a billion gallons (3.8 billion liters) of sewage (pdf), in fact.
That’s according to Friends of the Earth, a non-governmental environmental group, which used US Environmental Protection Agency data to calculate arrive at that gross figure. The EPA estimates that single 3,000-person cruise ship pumps 150,000 gallons of sewage—about 10 backyard swimming pools’ worth—into the ocean per week. One vessel in an EPA study produced 74,000 gallons of sewage (pdf, p.2-1) in a single day.