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In the interest of full disclosure, I have been involved in the visitor industry for 31 years. I am a former employee of a major cruise line and an airline operating in Alaska and am an unashamed enthusiastic supporter of travel to Alaska.
More than 60 percent of Alaska's visitors in the summer take an Alaska cruise. Last year I took a cruise ship environmental tour and came away impressed with how responsive the industry has been to environmental concerns. It is refreshing to encounter such a commitment to environmental compliance.
A reporter called the underbelly of the cruise ships the "ugly parts of what is otherwise a resplendent vessel."
Let's get real, please. In my tour the lower decks were clean and safe. Furthermore, I took back to my office from the "underbelly" a flask of the clean liquid drawn from the end of the cruise lines black water treatment facility. The state says this end product is significantly cleaner than anything that comes out of any municipal system. What impressed me just as much was the garbage sorting center where ship employees went through garbage and placed it in the appropriate bin for recycling.
Bottom line, the industry has done a great job and the rest of Alaska could use its recycling procedures as a model for our local governments or our homes.
President and COO, Alaska Travel Industry Association