According to a new study, the Cruise industry dumps over a billion gallons of untreated or partially-treated sewage into the ocean every year. And that only accounts for some cruise liners in operation today, not all of them.
The analysis, which worked off of federal data, did show that some of the 16 cruise lines assessed are slowly becoming more environmentally friendly. But according to the press release from environmental group Friends of the Earth (FOE), over 40 percent of the 167 ships in operation still operate using waste treatment technology that’s more than 35 years old. “Such antiquated treatment systems leave harmful levels of fecal matter, bacteria, heavy metals and other contaminants in the water,” FOE noted. […]
FOE also cites data from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which shows “an average cruise ship with 3,000 passengers and crew produces about 21,000 gallons of sewage a day — enough to fill 10 backyard swimming pools in a week. That adds up to more than one billion gallons a year for the industry.” FOE also acknowledges this is likely “a conservative estimate,” because newer ships can carry up to 8,000 passengers and crew members, and because their analysis does not cover all ships and fleets worldwide.
I was unaware that federal law only requires that sewage be treated if its dumped within 3 nautical miles of the coast. I didn’t know that you could dump as much untreated sewage into the ocean as you want to as long as you’re more than 3 miles away from the coast.
Humans really are the worst.