Yesterday the Friends of the Earth (FOE) filed a lawsuit in federal court in Washington D.C. against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in an effort to force the federal agency to regulate sewage discharges from cruise ships and other vessels in U.S. waters.
As the Palm Beach Post points out, cruise ships alone dumped more than one billion gallons of sewage in the ocean last year. And much of what cruise ships discharge is poorly treated.
The FOE stated: "Cruise ships with populations the size of small towns ply the waters off our coasts and massive cargo ships carrying goods to our ports produce and then dump large amounts of partially treated sewage and other wastes into our oceans.
“The EPA is required under the Clean Water Act to protect people who swim, boat, and fish in waters affected by ship sewage discharges. Modern sewage treatment options are available for relatively low cost, but EPA hasn’t updated it regulations to reflect those advances since 1976. As a result, ships can dump bacteria-laden wastewater in some of our most valuable waters."
You can read the lawsuit here.
As we have mentioned in the past, the FOE "grades" the cruise lines for their treatment of the environment. Last year, the FOE report card contained F’s for Costa, Crystal, MSC and P&O. Royal Caribbean received a C and Carnival received a C-. Disney received an A.
Here’s how the cruise lines have treated the planet over the last few years:
Enemies of the Environment? Costa, Crystal & P&O Cruises Flunk Cruise Ship Environmental Report Card, While Carnival & Royal Caribbean Receive "D+" (2012)
Cruise Ships Turn British Columbia Waters into "Toilet Bowel of Raw Sewage" (2010)
New Report Details Cruise Industry’s Record of Pollution (2009)
The cruise industry claims that it is the "guardian of the seas." But this year we posted videos of MSC Cruises dumping garbage bags and plastic materials into the waters of Brazil.
Image credit: Cruise Ship Cartoon Shields via earthisland.org and Campaign to Safeguard America’s Waterways