Cruise ships are floating norovirus delivery systems, yes, but they are also floating garbage disposals, spewing plastic crap straight into the ocean. Such, at least, is the case with the Carnival Corporation, who’ve been throwing pollutive waste into our fragile marine ecosystem for so long, they now have to pay a $20 million fine.
According to the New York Times, Carnival and its associated Princess Cruise Lines agreed to pay the hefty fine to cover a slew of violations, including falsifying records and illegally dumping plastic, sewage, oil, and food waste into the ocean.
Carnival pleaded guilty to the charges, all of which are quite bad. There are about 150 million metric tons of plastic waste in the Earth’s oceans as it is (according to the Ocean Conservancy) with 8 million metric tons more getting dumped in each year. Margarita mix packaging does not need to add to this nightmare.
But what makes Carnival’s violations even worse is that only three years ago, Princess Cruise Lines had to pay $40 million in fines for dumping plastic straws, aluminum, food waste, and other pollutants into the ocean, in addition to using certain devices to “circumvent water-cleaning mechanisms and digital devices monitoring oil levels.” They also made a bunch of fatbergs:
The discharged waste included gray water — water that has been contaminated with food particles, grease and fat — and water found in the ship’s bilge, the bottom part of the ship where oil waste from engines can accumulate.
Unfortunately, though the damage to our ocean is an immeasurable cost, to Carnival, these violations mean very little. Though the company did promise to cut back on plastic waste and stop illegally dumping to avoid an additional $10 million fine, as the Los Angeles Times points out, Carnival made $18.9 billion in revenue in 2018. In comparison, $60-$70 million isn’t much, but just tell that to the sea turtles.