/ Traveling the Green Way

Clean Cruise Ship Act Introduced

About a week and a half ago, two nearly identical bills were introduced in Washington which hopefully will prevent cruise ships from discharging raw, untreated sewage in U.S. coastal waters.

clean cruise ship act

According to ENS, “Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin introduced legislation extending the Clean Water Act to regulate the millions of gallons of wastewater discharged in U.S. waters every day by cruise ships.

The bill, called the Clean Cruise Ship Act, would ban the release of untreated sewage in U.S. waters, including the Great Lakes. Durbin represents Illinois, a state bordering the Great Lakes.

A second Clean Cruise Ship Act was introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman Sam Farr, a California Democrat. The legislation would amend the Clean Water Act to regulate cruise ships under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System for sewage, graywater and bilge water.

Not a bad move at all considering the water turmoil that cruise ships create every day. A typical cruise ship can create one million tons of wastewater, 210,000 gallons of sewage, 35,000 gallons of water contaminated by oil, and more than 50 tons of garbage in just one week. Worse, this wastewater from cruise ships, including sewage, contains scads of bacteria that can make humans who swim in the water and marine animals sick. Dumping wastewater also creates algae blooms which reduce oxygen levels in the water which in turn kills the fish.

Both the Senate and the House measures would prohibit the discharge of sewage, graywater, and bilge water within 12 miles of any shore of water. Once the 12 mile limit is reached, the water dumped would have to be treated to reduce pollution to the levels currently achievable by advanced wastewater treatment systems.

The bills also would prohibit the dumping of sewage sludge, incinerator ash and hazardous waste in U.S. waters and create inspection and sampling programs and an onboard observer program. The only part concerning to me, is the fact that the bills keep using the term, “U.S. waters” – the U.S. is big on dumping their waste issues on other countries. It makes me a little concerned. We have a lot of water on the planet not in the U.S. We’ll see though. Hopefully the bills will be carried out in an ethical manner.

Tags: are cruise ships green, Cruise, cruise ship problems, featuredarticle, green initiatives, green travel, green traveling

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