An article published by CTV Vancouver Island reports that, “a Canadian conservation group says cruise ships are responsible for dumping “the vast majority” of the potentially toxic grey water that ends up off the B.C. coast each year.
World Wildlife Fund Canada says cruise ships traveling between Washington state and Alaska accounted for 1.37 billion of the 1.54 billion litres of grey water generated off the B.C. coast in 2017.”
Converted to gallons, that’s nearly 350 Million to 400 Million gallons of grey water – waste water that’s dumped directly into the ocean not only by cruise lines, but by many other vessels as well. However, it’s estimated that 90% of the disposed waste water is dumped by cruise ships.
The British Columbia coastline is a popular tourist destination for cruisers as many make their way along routes around Seattle, Vancouver and Alaska coastlines.
Per the article and the World Wildlife Fund Canada (WWF Canada) report, “grey water includes drainage from dishwashers, sinks and showers and can contain contaminants like oil, disinfectants, fecal coliform and micro-plastics.”
The impact of grey water dumping can lead to dead zones for fish and other aquatic life. Estimates by WWF Canada say that grey water dumping will increase twofold by 2035.
Grey water is not alone in terms of what’s dumped or spewed into the world’s oceans by the cruise line industry. Trash, food garbage, sewage, oil and exhaust fumes spill into the water and into the air around cruise ships every day.
A Forbes article earlier this year, Cruise Ship Pollution Is Causing Serious Health And Environmental Problems, brought attention to carbon emissions and other cruise ship air pollution issues.
In April 2019, many outlets, including the Business Insider, shared that Carnival Cruise Line reportedly dumped over 500,000 gallons of sewage and 11,000 gallons of food waste improperly. This was occurred even after the cruise line admitted to illegally releasing oil into the ocean and agreed to a $40 million settlement for improper waste disposal.
Pacific Standard outlined issues within the industry with their article, How Cruise Ships Are Polluting Our Oceans as did Energy Skeptic with The Dark side of Cruise ships. Garbage. Sewage. And more.
Read more here:
CBC News Canada: World Wildlife Fund raises alarm about harmful ‘grey water’ in Canada’s Arctic
Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine: Harmful grey water dumping in Canadian Arctic to double by 2035, new WWF study finds