Learn more about cruise ships

Cruise sewage: What goes in must come out

The enormous amounts of food and drink consumed on cruise ships, along with water from laundry, pool, medical facilities, photo labs, spas and dry cleaning stations, has to go somewhere. At sea, what you flush down the toilet can actually be dumped untreated into the ocean to contaminate fish and other marine life, so long as the ship is at least three nautical miles from shore. This sewage contains pollutants including fecal matter, bacteria, viruses, pathogens, nutrients, hazardous waste and pharmaceuticals, all of which can be harmful to human health and aquatic life.

Cruise ships pollute the air we breathe

Cruise ships are also responsible for significant air pollution from the dirty fuel they burn, which can lead to serious human health problems, especially in port communities. Even while at dock, cruise ships often run dirty diesel engines to provide electrical power to passengers and crew. Emissions from cruise ship engines include nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, carbon dioxide, and diesel particulate matter, the microscopic soot that is so damaging to human health. Among other health and environmental impacts, these emissions contribute significantly to serious cardiovascular problems, premature death, acid rain, habitat destruction and climate change. Scientists estimate that by 2030, air pollution from ocean-going vessels in U.S. waters will increase by 150 percent.