Unfortunately waste, be it fluid, solid, or airborne, is a fact of life for cruise ship operations. And as this rapidly growing industry expands its reach, there is a real threat that waste management problems could kill the proverbial “golden goose”—spoil the rich environment that makes a cruise so worthwhile. To prevent this, Sylvia Earle, executive director of CI’s Marine Programs Division, is heading up an independent science panel to provide direction on environmental challenges facing the industry. The panel’s formation is the first step taken by the Ocean Conservation and Tourism Alliance (OCTA), a partnership
between CI and the International Council of Cruise Lines (ICCL). Panel members are experts in marine sciences and wastewater management and come from diverse geographic areas, including Hawaii, South America
, the Caribbean, California and Europe.
“The cruise industry has had a troubled past in terms of environmental issues,” explains Jamie Sweeting, director of travel and leisure at CI’s Center for Environmental Leadership in Business. “However, it is demonstrating leadership by seeking science-based solutions to wastewater management and other complex challenges.”
In addition to improving waste management practices, OCTA will focus on promoting environmental education among crew members, passengers and local vendors, and will work with local governments to protect the natural and cultural assets of cruise destinations.
“It is in the cruise industry’s best interest to protect these waters and destinations that are its lifeblood,” says Michael Crye, president of ICCL. “To do this, the ICCL must base its decisions on sound science. CI is an ideal partner in this regard. Its approach is science based, but also recognizes the need to integrate business ingenuity.”
Information about CI's work with the cruise ship industry and other corporate partners is available at the Center for Environmental Leadership in Business site.