Shape Up or Ship Out
The cruise ship industry has been hit with bad press lately for some high-profile pollution cases involving the illegal dumping of oil-contaminated water and other pollution into the channels and bays along Alaska’s southeast coastal rainforest. These incidents have raised awareness that current law allows cruise ships to dump wastewater and treated sewage virtually anywhere. Hoping to burnish its image and stave off stricter regulation, the cruise industry is slowly introducing voluntary pilot projects to clean up wastewater on ships, which is generated at the rate of about 100 gallons per passenger per day. But a growing number of citizens and activists say the industry’s past record shows that it shouldn’t be trusted to regulate itself and that stronger laws are needed to crack down on the problem.