Caroline recently attended a forum focusing on the cruise ship industry and its environmental and economic impact on our historic district. The event was sponsored by the Coastal Conservation League, the Preservation Society of Charleston, Clean Support and the Committee to Save the City. Each of the 4 internationally renowned panelists spoke about air and water pollution, environmental regulations, economic impact of cruise ships and environmental monitoring of water and air quality. The cruise ship industry is the least regulated industry. As it stands now you are more regulated on the streets of your hometown than the cruise ships entering Charleston Harbor. The regulations that are in place have no monitoring or reporting requirements. 60-70% of cruise ships violate the existing discharge laws resulting in contamination of shellfish beds, risk of disease from folks swimming in creeks and oceans etc.. The risk to the health of our population from fine partical pollution that is given off from the diesel exhaust is staggering. Charleston received a “F” rating from American Lung Association 3 years in a row because of diesel emissions. The economic impact from ships calling on Charleston is exagerated. Most passengers spend less than $35 in port and spends on average more money on the ship than they do on their cruise ticket. The cruise ship industry employs no one on a local level for any task or uses any local goods on board. In a state with almost 12% unemployment, why can’t they be required to hire locally and use local products as much as possible? Our state and local governments need to take a serious look at changing the laws governing the cruise ship industry. We need to contact our local and state officials and push for Charleston Harbor and 4-5 miles out at sea to be an “EPA No Discharge Zone.” All of this evidence begs the question, do we want to have national publications saying that Charleston is “getting ugly” because of the cruise industry? This is what they are saying about Key West. For more information about the forum, please click the link below.
April 7th, 2010