Oceana's victory in getting Royal Caribbean Cruises to adopt advanced wastewater treatment technology fleetwide is a tremendous step, but it is not the final solution to the problem of cruise ship pollution. The industry is still growing. The number of passengers that travel each year is increasing bringing with it more and more pollution, and cruise terminals are being developed in more and more cities throughout the country. Cruise ships are no longer limited to Florida and Alaska, but headed to places like Norfolk, VA, and Gloucester, MA.
Because of this, it is not enough for one company to adopt advanced wastewater treatment technology. Legislation is needed to combat this problem, and the Clean Cruise Ships Act of 2004 (PDF fact sheet) which has been introduced by Senator Durbin (D-IL) and Representative Farr (D-CA) would be the way to do it.
This bill would:
- prohibit the discharge of sewage, graywater and oily bilge water within twelve miles of the coast;
- set standards for the treatment of sewage and graywater that can be released once they are outside of twelve miles;
- ensure illegal discharges do not continue by requiring better inspection and monitoring.
It is important that we continue working to clean up our oceans and generate support for this bill. Please contact your Members of Congress and ask them to support this legislation!