I just read a newspaper article written by David Suzuki. I didn't realize that sewage, food scraps and other waste were dumped directly into the ocean. I thought there were regulations that restricted or banned this practice. There is a site that rates the different lines, some are better than others but they are almost all huge polluters. Any body else as suprised as me?
As with anything you need to consider the source. David Suzuki is an environmental activist and I consider his writings not particularly balanced.
Did he mention that the items are processed prior to discharge? It isn't raw sewage and toilet paper being dumped over the side. I know that Royal Caribbean grinds up the food waste and it is a slurry when pumped overboard where it feeds ocean life. I believe this is the practice of all major cruise lines.
Items that can be recycled are processed and kept aboard, and then moved ashore on debarkation day.
All of the discharges are done in waters where it is allowed, either by local law or international convention. When they do violate the law they get fined.
I know something about this since when I was in the Navy we routinely discharged radioactive water (I was a nuclear propulsion plant operator). We had to keep logs and get coordination with the bridge as to our location and record that location in the log. Same thing for the cruise ship discharges.
To answer your question though - no, it is not a surprise to me. The cruise lines even tell passengers they do this at the talks they give with the officers and passengers.
And the Grey water is treated and is as clean as waste treatment plants on the mainland get it before releasing it as well.
Every once in a while there are documentaries on the inner workings of cruise ships on the Travel channel or Discovery Channel. They actually are very earth friendly in the way they treat wast (both sewage and garbage)
The way the tree huger sites write things they would have you thinking that the toilets dump straight out the bottom of the ship..
One thing that caught my eye in Alaska was the amount of smoke (or whatever it is) that the ships product. I probably see it more in the clean Alaska air.
These images were taken with a filter to reduce the amount of smoke you see, but it is still there. These images were taken in Tracy's Arm. There was a layer of grey brown smog, just above the smoke stack.
I am sure weather conditions also make it appear to be worse. Also I am not trying to pick on this cruise line. They all do it.
Yes Dave, the article did mention the food scraps being ground up. It did though lead me to believe that nothing much else was treated. Glad to hear that it is. Having a naval background, you would be more familiar with these practices than most. Thanks to everyone for the information, I would love to see one of those documentaries.