SAN FRANCISCO PORT AUTHORITY EMBRACES CRUISE INDUSTRY
Informed environmentalists and constituents of San Francisco have stated again and again before the San Francisco Board of Supervisors that is it wrong to subject the air, water, and the land to the abuses cruise ships bring where they anchor and more when they visit any town and city.
Some years ago the San Francisco Port Authority was sent a clear message when their Environmental Impact Report linked to the soon to be built Cruise Terminal was taken to Court. The San Francisco Port Authority was mandated to put in place some critical mitigation measures mostly dealing with bilge discharges, sewage discharge, grey water, air pollution, other toxins that any cruise ship carrying an average of 2000 passengers discharges.
Cruise ships have been fined as much as $500,000 at a time and the companies do not mind the fine since they make billions of dollars in profits every year. In the year 2000 Royal Caribbean was fined $3.5 million by the State of Alaska for dumping toxic chemicals. In 2002 Carnival Corporation was fined $18 million for dumping oily waste and for doctoring entries between 1998 and 2000. There have been many other fines galore given to many a cruise company.
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) estimates that each cruise passenger generates 3.5 kilograms of waste per day. The Ocean Conservancy estimates the cruise industry worldwide produces more than 400 million pounds of waste annually. 32 million pounds in Alaska, a 40 percent increase. Only Alaska has very strict rules and regulations governing cruise ships and the waste they generate. The City of Los Angeles has passed an ordinance and has just begun to understand the damage done by cruise ships over decades.
Here in San Francisco we pride ourselves to be environmental friendly. As much as we try to preserve and protect our environment we have some entities who will pollute and foremost among them the San Francisco Port Authority.
In a one-week trip, a typical cruise ship generates about 210,000 gallons of sewage. During peak summer season, with an average 20 ships each carrying 2000 passengers, the daily discharge of sewage in the Inside Passage is approximately 2.5 million gallons per day. Equivalent to the entire amount of sewage discharged in the city of Juneau.
Huge diesel generators that arm the cruise ships spew tons of toxins into the air. While there is talk about filters and new technology to address pollution - we still have years to go before we see this technology.
San Francisco already suffers a lot from the toxins spewed by thousands of vehicles. The Cruise Terminal with its close proximity to the Bay Bridge and daily City Traffic will not be kind to the City and County of San Francisco and to the constituents who live in San Francisco.
Speaker after speaker addressed the Board of Supervisors most of them experts in their field and every one of them very articulate. Before the Board of Supervisors, the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Report and its Certification which had been challenged in Court and now needed the blessing of the Board of Supervisors.
Any educated fair-minded citizen hearing the pros and cons would have NOT approved the certification. The few who spoke in favor of certifying the Final Supplemental EIR tried to be persuasive but failed miserably. Then came the vote and the Board of Supervisors endorsed the certification and thereby sold their souls to GREED.
Soon we will have a Cruise Terminal every near Pier 39. The Bay which is already polluted with Mercury from the mines near Santa Cruz, various toxins from the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, secondary effluents as much as 100 million gallons a day - some of it treated and others not treated and each and every drop goes into the Bay, thousands of other toxins that find their way into the Bay - will now have to add y cruise ship pollution and the devastation they bring to the air, water, land and most of all to the people, the plants, birds, fish - all living species.
It is amazing how some sold their souls to the Almighty Dollar. Two hundred years ago much of the Bay was pristine. We had fish industries - shoals of herring and other delicious fish. Today - all that has vanished and what we have is pollution and annihilation of so many species.
Some one has to speak up. Who will do it? Taking a cruise sounds nice and the filthy rich pride themselves that they took a cruise here and there. The paradox is most of them do not fully understand nor have an iota of information - about the pollution Cruise Ships afflict wherever they go.
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