We need to protect our coastal economies and marine ecosystems by bringing the cruise industry in line with accepted pollution control practices.
Cruise ships are among the largest sources of unregulated ocean pollution yet they are one of the most preventable. Statutory and regulatory loopholes, legal uncertainties, inadequate inspections, lax reporting and enforcement, and the ballooning growth of the industry have resulted in a largely uncontrolled source of marine pollution.
Cruise ships pollute the oceans by generating enormous volumes of waste. Once a small fraction of ocean-going vessels, cruise ships are now getting larger and the fleets are expanding. Now ships can accommodate more than 5,000 passengers and crew. On a daily basis, a large cruise ship can generate up to 25,000 gallons of sewage or blackwater; 140,000 gallons of graywater from showers, sinks, laundries, baths and galleys; 4,000 gallons of oily bilge water; 15 gallons of toxic waste from photo processing, dry cleaning and paints; 7 tons of garbage and solid wastes; and diesel exhaust emissions equivalent to thousands of automobiles.
Under the Clean Water Act, cities and industries must treat their wastes, meet strict effluent limits, and monitor, test and report all discharges. Paradoxically, cruise ships generate comparable amounts of wastes yet are exempt from these key Clean Water Act requirements. Moreover, because no ocean water quality standards have been established for federal waters, discharges from cruise ships are basically unmonitored and unregulated.
The Clean Cruise Ship Act of 2005 would prevent discharges in coastal areas, establish uniform pollution treatment standards for discharges in US waters, authorize Coast Guard and EPA to develop and enforce these standards, promote the development of innovative marine pollution technology through NOAA, and establish accountability within the industry leading to clean coastal waters. I urge you to cosponsor this important legislation and protect our nation’s coasts and coastal communities.