Point Source Pollution from Cruise Ships

Mark Rollins


Olufunke Olawabi

Oct 2, 2010

      Ships on the high seas have always been a way that people used to travel from one place to another.   From Christopher Columbus and his three ships that he used to discover the New World to the modern and plentiful cruise ships of today, ocean travel has always been a preferred method of reaching new lands and vacationing.   Unfortunately, with the huge increase in popularity of cruising came a problematic side effect.   With the introduction of many new cruise ships in the past 20 years, pollution from these ships has grown exponentially.   In some areas it has become so bad that state and federal governments have been forced to pass regulations governing the amount and types of pollution if any that ships may discharge.   While these regulations have managed to curb some of the pollution emitted by cruise ships, there is still much more that can be done by the various cruise lines to protect the oceans they travel in and insure the viability of the world’s waters for years to come.
      Pollution from cruise ships can come in many forms.   The United States Environmental Protection Agency breaks pollution from cruise ships down into four main categories.   They are sewage, graywater, oily bilge water, and solid waste.   Sewage is “human body wastes and the wastes from toilets and other receptacles intended to receive or retain body wastes.”(EPA, 2008).   Graywater is defined as “wastewater from sinks, baths, showers, laundry and galleys.” (EPA, 2008).     Oily bilge water is classified as a mixture of water and other lubricants such as oil that accumulate in the bottom of a ship from the engines and other mechanical sources needed for the ship to function(EPA, 2008).     Finally, solid waste is garbage, trash and other materials discarded by individuals during the day to day operations of the ship(EPA, 2008).   Individually, any of these four causes of pollution...