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Cruise Ships Dumping Garbage?

Pennsylvania, US
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45 posts
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Cruise Ships Dumping Garbage?

I just recently got back from a week in Belize, had a wonderful time, beautiful country and people and definitely want to go back again. One thing I did notice was the amount of trash (mostly plastic) washing up on shore at the beaches at various places along the coast.

My friends and I got to talking to some of the bartenders/owners at a couple of the local bars/restaurants in Ambergris Caye, and they told us that a lot of the garbage that washes ashore comes from the cruise ships that dump non compostable (yet possibly recyclable) trash out in the ocean miles from shore and it washes up all along the coastline, ruining once pristine beaches. I noticed things like plastic diaper boxes, plastic utensils, cups, many of these things with English writing/advertising on them. Some of them said they had even witnessed the actual dumping from the ships at night or early in the morning. I have never been on (nor have ever had the desire to go on - now even more so) a cruise so may be a bit naive to how they operate but had no idea that this kind of thing happened and quite honestly am disgusted /angered by it. It looks like some countries have laws which prohibit cruise ship dumping off their coastlines but a lot of areas in the Caribbean do not as they do not have the facilities to accept cruise ship refuse. It really blows my mind that the cruise companies can get away with this. It's a shame that some countries who go out of their way to remain eco-friendly have to deal with this. Although I am sure not all of the trash is from ships and could be floating from neighboring areas, I never have really been interested in doing the whole cruise thing and this really solidifies my opinions on them.

San Ignacio, Belize
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1. Re: Cruise Ships Dumping Garbage?

Cruise ships are allowed to dump a certain amount of biodegradable garbage. Some might abuse it, but what is one to do? On a good note, cruise ship disembarcations fell by 5.8% in the first half of the year.

Most of the trash I see on the beaches looks to be from Belize, Guatemala, or Mexico. Trash seems to be inevitable.

Vancouver, Canada
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2. Re: Cruise Ships Dumping Garbage?

They don't just dump garbage . . .

oceana.org/en/…overview

Menlo Park...
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3. Re: Cruise Ships Dumping Garbage?

actually that's not just from cruise ships. That's crap from the entire Caribbean that floats down wind and down stream to the the western coast. You see it all up and down from Cancun to Honduras. There;s little recycling, the dumps tend to be at low elevation and frequently wash out, and then there are the cruise ships. You can visit parts of the Mayan coast of Mexico and find plastic piled feet deep. Very discouraging and very difficult to solve. If you don't see a layer of plastic in Ambergris or Tulum or Playa del carmen it's because someone is hired to remove it. And then it goes to the dump and eventually washes back out to sea. In Mexico the army used to patrol the stretches of empty beach and mangrove looking for the occasional cocaine package that got thrown overboard. Whether from a cruise ship of from some small island in the lesser antilles, it all washes up in Mexico and Belize. I'm surprised that local people would tell you it's all from the ships.

Edited: 28 November 2012, 16:44
San Ignacio, Belize
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4. Re: Cruise Ships Dumping Garbage?

Most plastic is burned in the dumps, but many times it isn't heated enough, so a lot of the melted plastic does get washed out to sea with the rains. Recycling isn't really 'worth it.'

Seattle, Washington
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5. Re: Cruise Ships Dumping Garbage?

I worked on aboard cruise ships for more than 4 years. In that time I never saw or heard of the ship dumping garbage overboard. Food waste and sewage yes, but some distance from land.

All the ships I worked on had water treatment facilities aboard and was able to recycle water. The garbage sorting rooms was some of the nastiest places I have ever been to, but always has crew in them sorting recyclables. These were always offloaded in the next port of call or on embarkation days.

We just spent 8 months in Central America and have to say I agree with dhauk that the trash on the beaches are most likely washed up from some of the coastal towns or even down some of the rivers flowing into the ocean.

6. Re: Cruise Ships Dumping Garbage?

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