50,000+ people demand Ottawa stop cruise ship dumping

Wednesday April 27, 2022

Petition calls on federal government to stop legalizing dumping harmful cruise ship pollution into the ocean

Unceded Coast Salish Territories (VANCOUVER, BC) — As the Port of Vancouver welcomed its first Alaska-bound cruise ship today since COVID-19 regulations were implemented, environmental advocates delivered a petition to the Fisheries and Oceans Canada office calling for an end to cruise ship dumping. The petition contains signatures from over 50,000 people demanding that the federal government stop legalizing dumping harmful cruise ship pollution into the ocean, which is overseen by Transport Canada. The petition was delivered electronically to Ministers Alghabra, Murray, and Guilbeault.

Images from petition delivery and rally will be uploaded here throughout the day and available for media use.

“Cruise ships may be back, but they should not get to operate with impunity,” said Anna Barford, Canada Shipping Campaigner with Stand.earth. “Without mandatory regulations from the federal government, coastal communities lack the reinforcements to protect our oceans from these untrustworthy corporate actors. It’s time for the cruise industry to stop being allowed to treat the coastline as its personal toilet bowl.” 

The petition underscores overwhelming public support for protecting Canada’s ocean waterways. Over the last decade, the cruise ship industry on Canada’s West Coast has exploded. In 2019, more than one million passengers and crew from 30 different cruise ships visited the Victoria cruise terminal during 256 ship calls on their way to and from Alaska. During this time, the B.C coast was subjected to 32 billion litres of dumping of sewage, greywater, and acidic fossil fuel waste from scrubbers. These waste streams contain a variety of pollutants, including fecal coliform, ammonia, heavy metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, harmful to aquatic organisms and coastal ecosystems.

“Southern Resident orcas are on the verge of extinction and contributing to this is the huge amount of underwater noise and toxic pollution produced by cruise ships in the Salish Sea,” said Lucero Gonzalez, Biodiversity Campaigner for Georgia Strait Alliance. “The government needs to urgently stop the pollution and negative impacts from this industry on the orca population.”

Transport Canada has finally begun to acknowledge the problem of cruise ship dumping, an issue neighbours in the US have led in addressing for over a decade. Earlier this month, Transport Canada announced that it would improve regulation on greywater and sewage pollution, a welcomed first step worth celebrating – as long as they actually become enforceable regulations. Meanwhile, the cruise industry continues to present itself as an important economic driver behind Victoria’s tourism industry despite recent analysis revealing that economic benefits of non-cruise tourism dwarf those from cruise tourism.

Reinvigorating the cruise ship industry post-COVID without including updated and strengthened mandatory regulations that protect our coastlines from cruise ship pollution would be indefensible. Stand.earth is calling on Canada’s federal government to support coastal communities by instituting an ambitious cruise ship pollution oversight program.

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Media contact: 

Ziona Eyob, Media Director - Canada, canadamedia@stand.earth, +1 604 757 7279 (Pacific Time)