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Cruise Ships Dump 1 Billion Litres Of Sewage Into BC Waters Every Year Causing Dead Zones

Narcity logo Narcity 2019-08-14 Britanny Burr
a body of water © Angela Bethell | Flickr

A World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Canada study has recently found that cruise ships dumped 1.3 billion liters of wastewater in BC oceans just off coast in 2017.

The study concluded that a total of 1.54 billion litres of greywater was generated by general ships, therefore cruise ships (counting in at 1.37 billion liters) are responsible for a jaw-dropping 90% of that sewage. The study focused mainly on cruise ships traveling from Washington to Alaska in Canadian waters.

The impacts of the sewage (or greywater) range from dead zones for ocean dwellers to suffocating fish, lobster, crab, and other underwater life forms. It also has a large potential impact such as detrimental effects on local ecosystems.


Greywater refers to dishwater, shower drainage, fecal matter, and micro-plastics, to name a few. According to the report, it is very common for ships to dump grey water into the ocean due to the lack of storage on board.

WWF explains that greywater during is governed by provincial laws, but that these laws can only cover ships within three nautical miles from the shore. Therefore, anything beyond that border doesn’t need to treat or report their wastewater at all.


This news has left BC residents shook and they are expressing their disappointment online.

a close up of a logo © Screenshot | Reddit
a screenshot of a cell phone © Screenshot | Reddit

As you can imagine, opinions range from surprised to not surprised at all. On-land vacations have never looked better.


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