Thursday, 9 April 2015

Rule #273: Cruise ships

Cruise ships dump mucho dinero into the coffers of local and federal economies. They also dump mucho crapola into our environment. The benefits come at a cost. Money from the industry - which generates billions in profits every year - trades on environmental health.

In a single day, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates passengers aboard a typical cruise ship will generate:

•21,000 gallons of sewage

•One ton of garbage
•170,000 gallons of waste-water from sinks, showers and laundry
•More than 25 pounds of batteries, fluorescent lights, medical wastes and expired chemicals
•Up to 6,400 gallons of oily bilge water from engines
•Four plastic bottles per passenger - about 8,500 bottles per day for a large ship.

The ocean is a big, primarily unregulated wet space. There are illegal dumping areas everywhere. Some big cruise lines pay a miniscule fee to a "garbage collection agency" in a depressed country, then feel good about doing the right thing with their garbage and turn a blind eye to the "garbage collection agency" when they dump it in the ocean.

The big issue is that cruises (and other all inclusive vacations) promote excess and waste. What makes cruises worse is that you just take the all inclusive experience and place it on a giant garbage producing, oil burning waste barge. It wasn't bad enough that we like to lay around on a beach and do nothing. Now, we want to lay around on a boat deck and do nothing.

Cruise ships incinerate between 75% and 85% of garbage according to the EPA in its 2008 study, contributing to smog in coastal communities and on the ocean. They also release incinerator ash and sewage sludge -- blobs of concentrated toxins from the bottom of waste treatment facilities -- into the ocean. They contribute nutrients, metals, ammonia, pharmaceutical waste and bla bla bla bla ....... you get it,  THEY'RE DIRTY!

Then there's the the fuel, much of it a cheap grade, which will continue until new international fuel standards take effect. A 2005 study estimated a 3,000-passenger ship generates the air pollution equivalent of more than 12,000 cars in a single day!

In the new world, marine vessels will be used to get passengers and necessities from one point to another. If you want the cruise experience, wear a Hawaiian shirt and get drunk on the journey, go for it.

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