Cruise lines must take responsibility

Posted: Thursday, March 19, 2009

Cruise ships have nothing to do with local drinking water, land treatment plants or economic fear. Foreign cruise ships in Alaska now discharge dissolved copper and concentrated ammonia precisely into salmon migratory and whale feeding areas, along the exact routes to their next cruise ports. Pacific salmon are directly affected by dissolved copper, which distorts their olfactory senses as they migrate to natal streams after years feeding at sea.

This dissolved and suspended copper comes from leaching ship pipes that connect the 2,000 staterooms and water purifiers on each ship, while concentrated ammonia is derived from the urine of 3,500 passengers and crew on each of 25 ships stationed in Alaska. Cruise passengers eat three to five meals a day, and the 60,000 visitors in Alaska daily generate substantial marine waste. At night, that human waste is discharged by ships over Alaska's top fishery and wildlife feeding areas. This is the sole reason for no mobile, mixing-pollution zones in law: their direct, physical impact on fish and marine resources.

The cruise lines and Alaska regulators must take full responsibility for the five-month-long dumping of human and dissolved metallic waste, which occurs each night over the last natural salmon spawning runs in North America. To discount dumping human and dissolved metal waste on five species of returning salmon and migratory humpback whales here to feed is perilous ignorance at best.

Chip Thoma

Responsible Cruising in Alaska


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