Stay Green While Cruising the High Seas

Cruise lines large and small have been working to lessen their carbon footprint, thus preserving the destinations they frequently include in their itineraries. Here are examples of ships that are doing it right, and ways to contribute yourself.
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green cruise, sustainable cruising, Holland America
Cruise lines aim to protect the locations they frequent in order to preserve them for future tours.  (Holland America)

Since the beginning of the 21st century, environmentally sensitive protocols have become a key component of operational standards in the travel industry, creating advancements in the design and operation of ships. Cruise lines have a vested interest in minimizing their impact on the environment. Thinking green maximizes the potential for tourism to endure in fragile environmental and economic destinations. This might include financial assistance for local conservation organizations or working with local communities that support the sustainability of their economy.

Some of the environmental advancements introduced by cruise lines in the past few years have produced dramatic improvements, such as advanced wastewater purification systems. Lines have reduced the amount of soot emitted while docked by turning off engines and using plug-in power at capable ports. Another environmental boon is the reduction and/or elimination of black-carbon-causing particulate matter by using "ship scrubber systems" that remove harmful sulfur from fuel.

National and international safeguards also play a large role in keeping the seas clean. A number of agencies regulate environmental protocols, such as the International Maritime Organization, which enforces both international and U.S. environmental laws. Marpol (short for "marine pollution") is the international treaty designed to minimize pollution of the seas. It regulates dumping, oil, and exhaust with the goal of one day completely eliminating pollution. It also aims to minimize the accidental discharge of these harmful substances.

Published: 30 Jun 2011 | Last Updated: 1 Jul 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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