Why even the environment hates cruises

As if the cramped cabins, lame entertainment, and superficial shore excursions aren’t enough for you to hate cruises, here’s another reason: they’re pretty bad for the environment too.

A new article on Slate, “A Supposedly Green Thing I Might Do Again,” (get it?) details the disturbing amount of damage that cruise ships do to our air and water. From the smokestacks spewing pollutants on top, to the noxious bilge water that is released (usually treated, but not always) below, cruise ships are some of the modern world’s biggest floating polluters.

And don’t forget about the sewage. According to a report from the non-profit advocacy group Oceana, “the average cruise ship with 3,000 passengers and crew generates about 30,000 gallons of human waste and 255,000 gallons of non-sewage gray water every day.” Yet United States law allows cruise ship operators to dump as much raw sewage as they want into the ocean as long as it’s not done within three miles of the U.S coast.

In addition, Oceana reports that cruise operators are permitted to dump ground-up garbage into the ocean as long as they are three miles from shore. Once they’re 11 miles from shore, the cruise ships may even dump garbage that hasn’t been ground up.

Check out more from Oceana on cruise ship pollution here. Nina Shen Rastogi’s full article on Slate is here.

On a more positive note, several months ago Treehugger wrote about 7 Ocean-Friendly Eco Cruises Hitting the High Seas.