While cruises are popular vacations for many Americans, the negative impact they have on the environment goes otherwise unnoticed. The carbon footprint cruise ships carrying up to 7,000 passengers have on the environment can be measured in air and water pollution along with sewage treatment.
Friends of the Earth, a federation of independent local groups striving for a more environmentally sustainable future, evaluated 10 cruise lines on three environmental factors – sewage treatment, air pollution reduction and water quality compliance – and determined that many of the cruise lines failed each category.
Among the cruise lines evaluated yearly by the Friends of the Earth are Holland America Line, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Princess Cruises, Cunard Cruise Line, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Carnival Cruise Lines, Silversea Cruises, Royal Caribbean International and Disney Cruise Line. A grading scale of A through F, including plus and minuses, is used to determine the report card.
We need to hold cruise ships accountable and insist they adopt a sewage treatment system to protect the health of humans and marine life. One of those many methods could be marine sanitation devices, advance sewage treatment technology or, the most environmentally friendly way, hold the treated sewage onboard and not dump it into the ocean.
Also, cruise lines need to reduce their carbon footprint. Since the ships’ engines release harmful toxins that impact human health and climate change. There are ways to manage air pollution and cruise lines must start the reduction by adopting the method of cold ironing – plugging into shoreline power rather than sitting with the cruise ships’ engines idling – to keep the ships operating while in port.
As consumers, we should be aware of these environmental factors contributing to climate change and choose a greener option when planning a cruise vacation.
Tell cruise lines to clean up their act and stop polluting the air and water throughout the world.