Now is the opportune time for the government to finally implement laws to penalize Carnival Cruise Line or any other cruise line found dumping sewage, oil or garbage of any kind in Bahamian waters, charged environmentalist and Save the Bays Chairman Joseph Darville yesterday.
Darville was contacted for comment regarding a United States district court report which found that several Carnival Corporation cruise ships discharged nearly 500,000 gallons of treated sewage, which it referred to as “black water”, into Bahamian waters in 2017.
Darville, who only two months ago said he supported Carnival Cruise Line’s proposed development for Grand Bahama as a much-needed economic boost for the island, called the lack of legislative protection for The Bahamas’ environment “abominable” and said now he feels “horrible” about the new findings.
“That makes me feel horrible, because this is not the first time, this is not a one-off time. This has been happening in our national waters for a very long time. We do not have an environmental protection act (EPA), which is absolutely abominable in this day and age,” he said.
“We are one of the major shipping lanes in the world; cruise ships go through our waters, huge tankers, and in essence we are in a position where we can’t even bring action against a cruise ship or a tanker that disposes raw sewage in our waters. Because we do not have a legislated environmental protection act that we can give to them that imposes severe penalties if they were to do that.”
Darville said he not only blames the government, but also cruise ships that knowingly take advantage of The Bahamas.
“As far as I know, not many cruise ships have treatment onboard for that, which would allow them to dump it into the ocean, even if it is treated. I worked for eight years in the shipyard and the cruise ships brought their ships in there for repair or refurbishing. Normally their grey water was taken off and processed in a processing plant on the shipyard. The solid waste that came from that is very poisonous and dangerous and so that has to be taken to the landfill and disposed of in a critical and safe manner,” he said.
“There’s something called the bilge water, which escapes as the engines cool, they are not even permitted to dump that into the ocean until they are a certain number of miles away from the mainland. But as far as grey water, which is basically sewage, treated or not that is an abomination; it’s poisonous, it’s going to ruin our coral reefs, ruin our seabeds, ruin our marine life and it should never happen.
“But again, I blame our government that we have yet in 2019 to come up with an environmental protection act, whether it’s for vessels that fly over our waters, cruise ships, tankers or whether it’s development that destroys our coral reefs or seabeds, et cetera, we do not have that protection. That’s why they come to us so quickly to do the things that they cannot do in another country, because there would be severe penalties and they would have to give a systematic, detailed report on every iota that they are going to do in a country where there is an environmental protection act, which we do not have.”
Paige started working as a business reporter in August 2016.
Education: Palm Beach Atlantic University in 2006 with a BA in Radio and Television News