Murky waters – how green is your cruise?

I occasionally check Finnish YLE (the national BBC equivalent – state broadcaster) news and get their English language updates on my Facebook feed. I follow them just to find out what is happening in my native country and also to get a different perspective to world news, from a Nordic angle. Today a piece of news came up that made me surprised, sad and relieved.

I digged a little deeper on the subject and was amazed at my own ignorance. I started reading up on it on Friends of the Earth, discovered an Oceana report on the subject and found a couple of newspaper pieces on the matter. It was one of these is articles that inspired the name of this blog entry.

My initial reaction was a to a piece of YLE reporting stating that the dumping of untreated cruise ship waste water is finally going to be banned in the Baltic Sea from 2019. I had foolishly assumed that of course such a thing would be banned all over in this day and age. Surely it wouldn’t happen especially on the port-heavy Baltic, Mediterranean or Caribbean itineraries where ships have near-daily access to ports and access to on-land waste treatment facilities. But that is so not the case, to my dismay. Silly me.


Individual operators may be more waste aware than others, with Disney cruises ranking high on the environmentally aware & for transparency (another Guardian article). But the fact is that disposal of untreated waste dumping is an ongoing practice in shipping. It can happen legally as long as ships are 3-12miles out to the sea. The Baltic sea, however, will now be free of untreated waste in 2019-2021 (as older vessels have longer to comply).

Alaskan waters are protected too (see Wiki) as are those around Washington state. Unfortunately, ships can easily get past the two above (see article) by not dumping there and releasing sewage into Canadian waters instead. It is a muddy minefield of poopy water indeed.

With cruise ships growing in size and the technology onboard, you would hope that dealing with sewage (or other waste or waste water) came into the current century – letting it spoil the seas is just so passe. Think I may need to contact my next two cruise lines to see how they address this issue. After all, I am vegan not just for the animals but for our planet too.

Oh, care for some ocean fish?

I am aware that the VT below is by RT but the matter is reported in other media too.







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