8 Ways in which Cruise Ships Can Cause Marine Pollution

No road traveled is without problems. In case of marine transport, there might not be a clear-cut road, but problems in the form of pollution exist and persist. And today, as marine transport increases to huger magnitudes, ship pollution has also substantially increased.

The term is generalized – ship pollution. And this generalization includes cruise ships as well. As much as cruise ships provide entertainment, they are also a source of great pollution in the oceanic and marine areas.

Credits: inselvideo/YouTube

Credits: inselvideo/YouTube

The extent and the ways in which cruise pollution is caused can be explained in-depth in following 8 ways.

Ballast Water Pollution

The letting out of the ballast water from the cruise ships is a major cause of cruise pollution. Since the ballast water contains microbes and micro-organisms in addition to vegetation and other sea-animals, the pollution aspect is mainly caused to the local species and marine life. One very good example of sea-animals causing problems to existing species of marine life would be the huge swell of population of jellyfish in the Black Sea

Air Pollution


Air pollution is a concept all of us are aware about. Just as the exhaust tanks in vehicles emit waste fumes and noxious air, the engine of the cruise ships also emit such unwanted air. And the scope of the gases emitted differs hugely between the vehicular emissions on the road and the cruise ship emissions on the sea, leading to ship pollution of immense proportions in the oceanic areas

Noise pollution

Again a simple term but of huge relevance in the cruise ship context. Cruise ships are known for their entertainment value. But even as the entertainment goes on in the cruise ships, noise pollutions from the ship’s machinery and other activities affects the marine animals and mammals whose sensitive hearing gets harmed and debilitated, often leading to their unwanted death and an overall loss to the eco-system

Grey Water Pollution

Even the most regular activity onboard the cruise ship like cleaning utensils and doing the laundry causes cruise ship pollution. Classified under the head of greywater, this water accumulation contains not just harmful chemicals but sometimes even metals and minerals too. The potency of greywater harming the marine environment is greater because of its high concentration in the oceanic waters. According to statistics, the average greywater churned-out of a cruise ship is around 3,30,000 to 9,60,000 million litres a day

Black water/ Sewage Pollution

The next huge cruise pollution cause is from sewage. Classified as blackwater, around 30,000 gallons of sewage is deposited into the ocean by cruise ships. Sewage includes waste from the toilets and the health facilities provided in the cruise ship. Such sewage is rich in bacteria and algae adversely affecting the oceanic life-forms and the entire marine eco-system

Chemical Pollution

Materials like batteries, chemicals past their expiry and processing of pictures in a cruise ship also leads to marine pollution. The materials mentioned are hazardous and possess a huge threat to the lives of the marine creatures and life-forms. Incidentally, such materials enter into the oceanic waters through either the grey water or the black water channels

Solid Waste Pollution


Materials like paper, cardboard and aluminum can also turn out to be a cause of cruise ship pollution in the marine areas. Categorized as being solid waste, such materials end up forming an unwanted debris on the oceanic surface leading to large scale threats for the oceanic plants and creatures

Oil Pollution/ Bilge Oil Pollution

Last but not the least- Oil/ Bilge pollution.  Oil pollution is the main reason for the increased level of marine pollution. Bilge oil mixing with oceanic water causes serious of marine pollution. Faulty engine system and improper repair work are two areas through which oil could leak and mix with the oceanic water. Collisions and accidents are also a reason or oil pollution. Since oil is heavier than water, it does not degrade quickly leading to problems to marine creatures and plants that are forced to ingest such polluted water

Considering the risks and the damages caused to the marine environment, proper resolutions have been laid down by countries across the world to protect the oceanic surroundings. Slowly and steadily, even cruise shipping conglomerates have begun to understand the importance and necessity of preserving the marine eco-system. For the time being, a better cruise shipping experience with the necessary caution and care for the marine life-forms still remains a dream to be realized and attained.  Hopefully it will be, in the days and years to come.

You may also like to read-Effects of Marine Pollution


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