a different side of Israel

“Love Boats” or Garbage Barges? Cruise Ships One of the Earth’s Greatest Polluters

With the summer holiday season upon us, many people go on vacations abroad, including cruises on the Mediterranean, Caribbean, and other bodies of water popular with vacationing tourists. Enjoyable to say the least, these ships offer literally every amenity one can think of, including sports, mini shopping malls, dusk to dawn banquets and entertainment, like casinos. Most people booking tours on these ‘love boats’ fail to realize something that many environmentalists have been concerned about for years: that is, these floating ‘pleasure barges’ are one of the world’s worst maritime polluters. The amount of raw or partially treated sewage expelled, as well as garbage, and just things thrown overboard by passengers is mind boggling; causing severe and often non-repairable damage to the sea’s delicate aquatic infrastructure.

Many people still point fingers at the huge oil supertankers for being the bad guys as far as messing up the world’s seas and oceans. This is true up to a point, as the environmental damage caused by oil spills from a tanker colliding with another vessel, or running aground on submerged rock formations, can take years or even generations to repair (the Exxon Valdez incident off Alaska in the 1980’s is a good example). Cruise ships, which range from smaller ‘island hoppers’ carrying up to 400 people to giant mega vessels like the Queen Elizabeth II (a new version of which has a complete shopping mall inside), will make their ‘contribution’ to world maritime pollution this year as they have in the past. If you calculate the number of sailings against the number of passengers on board, by the end of the summer cruise season, it’s as if a city the size of Rome Italy or Philadelphia Pa dumped all their sewage and garbage into Davy Jones’ Locker. Compounded year after year, one can see the immense environmental problem this creates!

The Mediterranean Sea, one of most popular bodies of water for maritime cruises, is suffering from this problem more than any other body of water. The main reason: except for a very narrow outlet at the Straits of Gibraltar, this body of water is actually a large salt water lake! And what gets dumped into it stays in it, without a constant flow of large underwater sea currents to spread the rubbish around. This damage, combined with wholesale dumping of all kind of personal and industrial waste by literally all countries that have sea coasts on it, is spelling eventual disaster to a body of water that is as historic as Modern Man himself. Israel unfortunately contributes a good deal of marine pollutants from both industry and humans. We also ‘receive’ back a lot of this waste on our beaches, some of which originated on these cruise ships. At the moment, there doesn’t appear to be any kind of enforceable maritime laws to make cruise ship companies clean up their act. They will simply continue to dump their wastes into the briny deep until enough people decide that enough is enough and either these companies find a cleaner solution to their waste problems, or face being ‘dry docked’ and not allowed to sail.

Israel and other Mediterranean countries may someday need to extract a good portion of their drinking water from the sea via desalinization plants. What should concern us all is whether the pollution factor can be dealt with as well. And rubbish from all these cruise ships is simply not helping solve the Sea’s pollution problem.


  1. Looks like ‘manure in the sewer’ – big time!

    And the “sewer” is Club Med!

  2. If only there really was a serendipity! (a character in a delightful children’s book series written by Stephen Cosgrove; a huge dino-like creature that cleans up the oceans and makes man aware of their carelessness).

    But seriously, with all man has accomplishd, one would think we could build these ships with under surface cantainment compartments that could store the waste until it could be disposed of, burned or otherwise neutralized. It’s all a matter of priority. I think/pray we are on the threshold of the day when we re-set our priorities!

    So where is the Petition Of The People Worldwide commanding the correction of this problem; addressed to the heads of every nation, with a cc: to our all impressive “United Nations”. 🙂

  3. They are in desperate need of a positive, unifiable project! Let’s give ’em one.

  4. All these folks are cruising on the Love Boat, Virigina, where Julie the entertainment director provides for their activities, and Isaac the bartender serves them those groovy cocktails, of which all the lemon peels and olive pits get thrown….into Flipper’s domain!

  5. Groovy? Now there’s a blast from the past! Far-out!
    Was it the “cc:” that gave it away?

    The concern is greater than lemon peels and olive pits, I still say we create the petition. Who’s up for takin on the world?

  6. Let’s give each nation a letter to use along with their electronic signature. Then we can put things in Alpha order! (pun intended)

  7. Hey, Virginia,

    Seems that u and I are the main responders on this blog. Maybe we should meet. I live in the Sharon region. Et tua?

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