LOS ANGELES, Sept. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger today
signed into law an ocean-protection bill that stops cruise ships from dumping
sink and shower wastes in California coastal waters. While Oceana praised
that action, it urged him to enact the most important cruise pollution bill on
his desk: AB 2672, which stops cruise ships from dumping sewage from toilets
within three miles of shore.
"By stopping the dumping of waste from cruise ships' sinks, showers and
galleys, Gov. Schwarzenegger has helped California take a stride toward
cleaner and safer coastal waters. Anyone who cares about that type of
wastewater would be even more concerned about the dumping of inadequately
treated sewage from toilets," said Dana DuBose, director of Oceana's Southern
California office. "So we hope that the governor will also sign the sewage
bill in the next few days."
"Assemblymen Simitian and Nakano, who introduced these bills, deserve
praise for standing up to the industry's political might and doing the right
thing," added DuBose. "We hope the governor will do the same."
The enacted cruise pollution bill, AB 2093, by Assemblyman George Nakano,
D-Torrance, bans cruise ships from dumping wastes from kitchens, sinks, and
showers in state waters. Such wastewater contains bacteria, pathogens and
heavy metals. Such pollution contributes to beach closures, seafood
contamination, coral reef destruction and other serious marine and public
health problems. Sewage from toilets, which would be covered by AB 2672,
written by Assemblyman Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, contains an even greater
level of these pathogens.
"I'm pleased the governor signed this bill into law. It's important that
we protect our beaches and coastal ecosystems from needless, damaging
pollution by an expanding cruise ship industry," said Assemblyman Joe
Simitian, author of AB 2672 which still awaits the Governor's signature.
"These laws ensure that even as the industry continues to grow, it won't be at
the expense of our air and water quality. Simply put, these bills protect the
environment, the public health and the economic vitality of our coast."
A single large cruise ship can carry up to 5,000 people and generate an
astonishing amount of pollution: up to 25,000 gallons of sewage from toilets
and 200,000 gallons of sewage from kitchens, sinks and showers every day.
California is the nation's second-largest cruise ship market, after Florida,
and it experienced a 14 percent growth in cruise embarkations in 2003,
boarding some 807,000 passengers. The cruise industry predicts the number of
ship visits to California to grow by 25 percent over the next decade.
In May, after an 11-month campaign, Oceana persuaded Miami-based Royal
Caribbean Cruise Lines, the world's second-largest cruise ship company, to
agree to install advanced wastewater treatment technology fleet-wide. Oceana
has been fiercely advocating for stronger state and federal cruise pollution
laws. Current federal law allows the cruise industry to dump sewage from
kitchens, sinks and showers anywhere, while sewage from toilets is only
required to be treated if it's dumped within three miles of shore, and even
then, by antiquated and ineffective marine sanitation devices.