Cruise ships the size of small cities ply the waters off our coasts, producing and then dumping large amounts of sewage and other wastes into our oceans, polluting our beaches, contaminating our coral reefs, and destroying our valuable marine ecology. Some of that waste is treated prior to dumping; other waste is dumped directly to the ocean without a second thought. A large cruise ship, the largest of which can carry over 7,000 passengers and crew, on a one week voyage is estimated to generate 210,000 gallons (or 10 backyard swimming pools) of human sewage and 1 million gallons (40 more swimming pools) of graywater (water from sinks, baths, showers, laundry and galleys). Cruise ships also generate large volumes of oily bilge water, sewage sludge, garbage and hazardous wastes. In addition, these luxury liners, which allow passengers a rare glimpse of some of the most sensitive environments on the planet, spew a range of pollutants into the air that can lead to serious public health problems and contribute to global warming.
The rapidly expanding size and number of cruise ships in U.S. waters has triggered a national cruise ship pollution crisis. Environmental laws have not kept pace with growth of the industry. Cruise lines travel the most pristine waters of America, dumping all the way. New laws and standards are urgently needed.
Resources – Reports, Cruise Ship Report Card, Fact Sheets