Cruise Ship Environmental Report Card
The failures stem from not implementing equipment and procedures which would minimize pollution. According to their website, the following determined the scores:
- To determine a cruise line’s Sewage Treatment grade, we compared the number of cruise ships in the cruise line that have installed advanced sewage treatment systems against the total number of ships in the cruise line.
- To determine the Air Pollution Reduction grade for each ship in a cruise line, only ships that dock at a port and plug in to available shoreside power hookups were graded. In addition, ships were given credit if they only utilize low sulfur fuels continuously at levels lower than required by international and U.S. law.
- To determine the Water Quality Compliance grade for ships operating in Alaska, we used 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 notices of violation issued for individual cruise ships to each cruise line by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation. Ships were given an "N/A" if they traveled to Alaska but avoided Alaska’s strong water quality standards by discharging outside of those protected waters.
- To determine the Transparency grade for each cruise line we graded each line based on whether it responded to our 2014 requests for information regarding their environmental practices.
- The grades for each of the four criteria were averaged to calculate the Final Grade for each cruise line.
Most people that love to cruise also have an interest in protecting the environment for the future. We want to continue our quest to see more of the world, but at the same time, want to make sure Mother Earth is around for generations to come. So, what can we as individuals do?
The FOE suggests letting Congress know that we want them to support the Clean Cruise Ship Act. For those that are interested (click the following links): Tell Congress to Cleanup the Cruise Industry. Learn more about the FOE.
Is There Any Good News in the Report Card?
I have to admit that my initial reaction to the report card was one of shock. The majority of the cruise lines have announced initiatives to protect the environment. You'll see signs posted in your cabin encouraging you to reuse towels, just like you see in hotel rooms on land. I have to give them the benefit of the doubt that they do intend to turn things around.
Special thanks to the EPA and FOE for their efforts and for publishing the information which was the basis of this article. See #EarthDayEveryDay on EPA website.