The Earth, third planet from the Sun in the Solar System, may not be as large as Jupiter nor does it have beautiful rings like Saturn, but it still has entities that other planets do not have. It shelters all the known living things in the universe – plants, animals, and, of course, humans. Another aspect that is unique to the Earth is the presence of the hydrosphere. The hydrosphere is the area of the Earth that is covered and filled with water.
Only the Earth has the abundant liquid water in the Solar System in its surface (Dutch 2004). Water covers 71% of the Earth’s surface, most are in the ocean and the others are in frozen areas of the North and South Pole; in addition, water on Earth can also be found beneath its surface. This is the reason why Earth has the capacity to sustain life, as water is an essential for survival. (Gardner –).
Biodiversity represents all the life on earth, including all species that compose ecosystems.
Even before we we born, these have already been in existence, and have proven to be a reliable source of our needs: food, clothing, shelter, and may also serve as ornaments. In the United States alone, it is said that the gross figure reaches from five to seventeen million dollars annually out of trading of products from different species, among different countries and states. This economic activity became extensive in the 1960’s (Gardner –). However, trading has been around ever since the start of written history. Even before the invention of money, people have already been trading with one another in a system called ‘barter’ where people will exchange their own goods to acquire other people’s goods. One of the people’s modes in trading back in the ancient times is already maritime trading especially in Asia where the oldest civilizations existed and this can be proven with the findings that experts garnered. As countries realized the possible negative effects of this act, different laws, conventions and treaties were drafted and signed. At present, prices of goods are increasing primarily because there is marked scarcity in these different resources.
Human activities, whether on land or at sea, have differential impact on marine species. These could directly affect the species and the ranges of their effects vary: some only affect the local species whilst others affect all the species around the world. The World Conservation Union in 2000 listed the following human-related activities as threats to marine wildlife: (1) aircraft movement, (2) aquaculture, (3) the movement of boats, ships and other motorized watercraft, (4) coastal development and land-based practices that discharge to marine waters, (5) conduct of defense exercises in marine environments, (6) declining marine water quality, (7) fishing, (8) hunting and collecting, (9) introduction of marine pests, (10) marine dredging and construction, (11) marine research and monitoring, (12) marine based tourism and recreation and, (13) shark control programs. In addition, the duration of these effects may be short term, long term and may even cause permanent damage to the environment (Gardner –).
Statement of the Problem
Nowadays, the popularity of both commercial shipping and cruises are increasing. This is due to the fact that a large percentage of world trade is moved using ships. As a result, the commercial industry gains a greater market share in the entire world economy. In the same manner, the different cruise lines all over the world attract more and more customers each year. Just like commercial shipping, cruises also contribute substantially to the world economy as it continuously becomes one of the highest revenue generating businesses in the tourism industry. However, both are double edge swords as it also continues on to pose harmful threats to the environment. Without a doubt, the different activities of humans affect marine wildlife, threatening the existence of marine animals as some of them become very important products of world trade. In the same manner, these activities also contribute to the growing problem of water pollution due to oil spills and improper waste disposal.
This paper aims to determine how humans affect marine wildlife, as well as to expound on the environmental effects of maritime trade lines and cruising lines on marine ecosystems. Highlighting the cause and effect relationship between maritime wildlife and trade lines is necessary. In achieving all these, the writer will use a review of related literature which primarily includes treaties, laws, acts, as well as conference papers related to the topic.
Review of Related Literature
I. The Effect of Human Activity on Marine Wildlife
Water as viewed by the United Nations, is a very important resource that supports life and its different activities. One of these is has to do with the economic aspect, specifically tourism. In particular, the cruise line industry. Having limited source of water (.0008%) we cannot afford to lose it by polluting it. Water occupies 75% of earth’s surface and it is further divided into salty (97.5%) and fresh water (2.5%). 87.5% of that 2.5% is ice, while the rest are divided amongst subterranean water (12%), atmospheric water vapor and humidity (.04%), and surface water (.5%). Two-thirds of fresh water is used in agriculture as irrigation in their fields, but 50 – 70% is wasted because of mismanagement. The UNEP predicts that the demand for water will increase amounting to 40% 20 years from now. However, the amount of available water available for us will never increase. Instead, we are helping to decrease the little amount of water that we have at present . Sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides that aremixed in air and returns to land as acid rain, comes from factories and vehicles, one of these are vessels. Another culprit are wrong practices in farming. Phosphorous and nitrogen fertilizers that go with water result to the fast growth of plants in rivers, lessens the amount of air available for animals and other life in water, which is also known as eutrophication. This situation makes it more difficult for fishermen in Eastern Africa, for instance. As a result of water pollution, 7 children die each day, 25 million people die annually, and 1.3 billion of people are thirsty because of lack of potable water (United Nations Environment Programme –)
As we pollute water, this contributes to the increasing effects of global warming in the world. Many species are now experiencing disease that eventually leads to death. Amont others, there is the Newcastle disease virus, vibriosis, and other inexplainable diseases that kill them. There is also climate change that affects all of us such as the El Niño and the La Niña. Animals like marine birds are also dependent on sea animals. The pollution from mollusks can be transferred to sea ducks. Albatross die because of foreign body impactions. Marine birds also die because of gill netting and long line fishing. An intelligence report reveals that approximately 32 million gallons of oil were spilled in 1999. Pollution, in addition to some changes in the climate and ocean temperature often result to red tide, caused by harmful algal blooms or HABs. They release biotoxins that is either inhaled or ingested by marine animals. In the end, they suggest that there should be monitoring of marine wildlife and that humans must understand that this is important to them, that is why they need to be prudent and careful in our acts that exert an impact on the environment. Policies concerning this issue must be more stringently implemented, especially when dealing with sewage, fertilizer inputs, maintenance and restoration of the coastal wetlands, and flood plains. There should be incentives for having a clean source of energy. Pathogens that can also be a source of sickness for us are in part due to warn temperature of waters (Consortium for Conservation Medicine and the Environment and Energy Study Institute 2001).
According to Fleming, almost half of the world’s oceans nowadays have been seriously affected by over-fishing, pollution and climate change. It has also been reported that amongst all ecosystems, the coral reefs, seagrass beds, mangroves, rocky reefs and shelves are the ones which are highly altered. Fleming’s article cited a study conducted by nineteen scientists, all aiming to look into the impact of human activity on the earth’s seas and oceans. Figure 1 (below) summarizes the said study which was mentioned in the article of Fleming. The study revealed some pertinent findings. First is that forty percent of all marine regions across the country have been significantly altered whilst only four percent are in an untouched state. This had been caused by different human activities such as pesticide runoff or fishing. Secondly, one of the most heavily affected regions is the North Sea together with the South and East China Seas, the Caribbean, the east coast of North America, the Mediterranean, the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. On the other hand, only the least affected regions are those that lie near the poles (Fleming 2008).
Figure 1. Marine areas that are affected by the activities of men (Fleming 2008).
E.Coli H0157, Helicobacter pylori. and Salmonella typhimurium are just some of the dangerous bacteria that can be found today that puts great risk on the health of humans. For the past twenty years, the United States has been trying to solve the contamination of water that causes kidney failure, degenerative heart disease, Whipple’s disease and many other serious illnesses. The contamination of water is a growing problem that has to be dealt with through a national program. Even though coliform bacteria have helped alleviate fecal contamination, it is only limited. Will there be enough water? In our world today, water is the most vital natural resource that is now declining at a very fast rate. As our world continues to grow, and nature continues to change, will there be enough water for humans and for the world? The development of humans has always depended on and will continue to depend on water. Water is one of the main reasons that has shaped the world’s industries, transportation and agriculture. Today, the world currently has more than 450,000 dams that store a large amount of water, and through large storage of water, this enabled countries to properly irrigate their agricultural lands. But even though countries can store a lot of water, the main problem is, if there will be enough water for humans and nature to use (Fleming 2008).
Statistics show that humans use about 4,000 km3 of water per annum, but scientists show that the available water for human consumption is 39, 500 km3 to 42,700 km3 and this amount of water is not entirely available for human consumption. Some people do not have access to this water because of geographical reasons and some need to be in the waterways for the continuation of aquatic life. For others, such as the case of geographical reasons, some only get 2% of fresh water for example, arid and semi-arid regions (citation, year).
The University of New Hampshire and the World Resources Institute worked together and came up with these statistical data. 2.3 billion of the world’s population only get less than 1,700 m3 / year per capita, suggesting that they experience recurrent water shortages (citation, year).
In some areas they even get less than 1,000 m3 per capita. This only means that they not only do they lack supply of water for their personal consumption; they might even have problems on their food production. If fresh water scarcity continues to be a problem in 2025 the estimated volume of people that will experience water shortages will be 48%, and even though countries who have a high amount of per capita water, they will also experience water shortages especially in dry seasons (citation, year).
As mentioned earlier, one of the reasons behind the shortage of fresh water supply is the continuous growth of the population. And another important factor is the neglect that humans give as to how important and vital water is in our daily lives. The United Nations statistics show that the human population is estimated to be 8 billion. This means that there will be more amount of supply for food, and the agricultural sector is the major user of water in our society today and
will still be in the years to come (citation, year).
As these facts and statistics are mentioned, this leaves us with the question as to what can be done. One of the things that we could do is to manage our use of water wisely. Since the scarcity of water is a world problem, nations all around the globe should imperatively put up policies on efficient water use (citation, year).
II. Maritime Trade / Cruise Lines
Maritime Trade in the Past
Biefly going through the history of maritime trade, it is said that the early boats that were used were dugout boats and experts were able to find them in Hemudu and Xiaoshan, China with wooden paddles that date back to 5000 BCE (Rosenberg 2004). The dugout boats developed into multi-planked boats and Chinese silk arrived at Greece later on. The Harappan civilization of India also engaged in this maritime trading since 2300BCE by building seaports on the Arabian Sea where traders would sail onto the Persian Gulf to trade cotton cloth, timber, ivory, etc. (Perry 1989).
There are also people from the Asia Minor like the Lydians who developed the use of coins in trading around 560 BCE which made trading easier and the Phoenicians who are known to be the best exporters of timber that are good for shipbuilding (Perry 1989). Trading has been significant for a civilization’s development just like in the case of Mesopotamia who made use of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers just so they could acquire goods that they would not be able to find in their own land. There were also the Minoans, a civilization older than the Greek which originated in the island of Crete, who exported wine, honey and olive oil in Egypt, Middle East, Asia Minor, and to Greece itself, then when the Hellenic civilization in Greece have finally caught up with the other civilizations, they exported goods like wool, marble and pottery all over the Mediterranean (Perry 1989).
Then the Roman civilization established trade relationships with South Asia that strengthened during the time of Augustus. The Romans also established trading relations with China. The Chinese also further developed their ships during the Han Dynasty and invented rubber that were exported at Middle East and Europe from 10th to 12th century BCE. When the Chinese were able to occupy Vietnam, they were able to control the overseas trading in Asia (Rosenberg 2004). On the other part of East Asia, Japan and Korea have a very tight trading relationship. Then at 8th century CE, Chinese traded with Japan and Indonesia (Rosenberg 2004).
By the 1st century CE, India became part of the Kushanas of Central Asia and sea trade was established between the southern Indian peninsula and Arabs (Perry 1989). In South India where the Tamils are dominant, trade also developed as the Tamils traded with Southeast Asia, China, Egypt and the Roman Empire. Indian and Roman ships pass the Red Sea to Indian Ocean and vice versa 20 times a year (Rosenberg 2004). The Roman Empire also traded with Sri Lanka after Sri Lankan Buddhist monks visited Emperor Claudius. At the same time, Africa and Arab were also trading along the Indian Ocean (Perry 1989). Then China and India also engaged trading relationships with Africa, their ships landed on the Great Zimbabwe, same as the Arabs.
In Europe, after suffering during the early stages of the Medieval Age were slowly prospering, by the year 1050, trading in Europe revived – Italians defeated the Muslims who were raiding the coasts and strengthened their trade relations with the Byzantine Empire, who remained prosperous even after the fall of Rome which led the other European countries to the Dark Ages, and North Africa (Perry 1989). Soon enough, Italian city-states of Venice, Milan, Genoa and Pisa became major centers of maritime trade in the Mediterranean. Other trade routes in the Scandinavia and the Atlantic coast, France, England and Flanders, and the rivers on the Baltic Sea, Black Sea and Constantinople were opened. European trade continued to grew even during the period of the Crusades and the trading between East and West was strengthened which caused more success on the Italian trading centers. The Crusades also led for the formation of the Hanseatic League in 1300s, the said league is an alliance formed by the cities along the Baltic Sea in order to monopolize the trading in northern Europe (Perry 1989). These cities expanded their trade, protected the shipping and fought the competition.
During the Medieval trade growth in Europe, China became strong traders in Asia. The Chinese became competent in sea navigation and in building ships under the Mongol rule (Perry 1989). A neighbor country, Japan, also benefited in trading after the broke down of its feudal society. The opposite happened in Africa where the trading that is rampant is the slave trade that was first controlled by the Portuguese.
Then during the Age of Exploration, the Dutch took over the Portuguese trade routes after fighting against their Spanish rulers in 1568, enabling them to enter their ports (Perry 1989). The Dutch East Indies Company, then, was formed on 1602 and fully controlled almost all the ports in Asia that was put up by the Portuguese. They managed to engage a trading relationship with Japan and are close to monopolize trading in Asia. Then came the Dutch West Indies Company who took care with the trading in the Americas for a brief period of time controlling shipping and, unfortunately, slave trade.
The Chinese has strict rules in trading which helped them in controlling foreign trade, however, as the Imperialism period began, the Europeans wanted to change them in order for them to have normal trading relations with the Chinese and for more ports to be opened. However, the king of China at that time did not granted the request of the Westerns causing the Europeans to sell and bribed them utmost amount of opium – for they were used as medicine – which resulted to the prevalent opium smoking of the Chinese in 1700s (Perry 1989). The opium trade caused an economic crisis in China and the Opium War where the Chinese lost against the British troops. A treaty called Treaty of Nanking was signed in the favor of the British, more trade ports were opened, Hong Kong was given to the British, and all foreigners were given equal trading rights. Japan also engaged with treaties with western countries which allowed the foreigners with limited trading right with the United States of America, Great Britain, Dutch, France and Russia. However, another treaty was signed stating that the tariffs would just be low on both export and import commodities, and that foreign traders can live in the country (Perry 1989). India also was soon was built up with English trading posts in Bombay, Madras and Calcutta (Perry 1989).
Maritime Trading in the Present
Just like in the past, shipping still is an important part of the growth of the economy of Asia, in terms of trade. Asian countries are now more dynamic in manufacturing different goods through dry and bulk shipments from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the Republic of Korea. Presently, the quantity of manufacturers from this region is directly proportional with its value. Because of this some would rather invest in other countries that have a cheaper market or labor rate (Meyrick –).
Meyrick (n.d.) said that as the number of Asian countries that venture in manufacturing increases, so will the need for more refined shipping services for the dry bulk, liquid bulk and general cargo sectors. Liquid bulk would mean crude oil and petroleum products, while the general cargo areas are concerned more with steels, timbers, and cars. Dry bulk cargoes include iron core, coal, and grain. One of the key products in the dry bulk market is steel. Iron ore and coal are the two biggest produce in the dry bulk sector. The big part of Asia’s steel dry bulk industry is expected to increase, especially from Korea and China. One may note that it is considered part of the economic growth of a country to become a part of the world trade and cash in on the world market, with many potential products that might be traded secondary to ease of bulk deliveries via the commercial shipping lines. However, one should also realize that as such it is important to see that the monetary gain that a country and an individual or stakeholders in an exporting company may not be enough later on to cover for cleaning up the mess that carelessness of shipping personnel ultimately make during their sea travels (Meyrick –).
It has been noted that from 154 million tones, this will increase to 189 million tones. Steaming coal, on the other hand, has been in demand for newly industrialized countries. The decrease of European coal production gave an opportunity for major coal producers in Asia. The development of shipping steaming coal in 1995 is due to strong expansion of shorthaul inter-Asian trades. Grain is one of the commodities in the seaborne trading. Its rise has been observed in 1996 and it is expected to further increase for years to come. 75 million per year are imported to Asia by countries like United States and Canada. China on the other hand remains a significant grain producer to different countries. Crude oil, as one of the in-demand liquid bulk components in Asia is expected to rise with a high rate, as Thailand, South Korea, and Taiwan are investing now in oil refinery, that aim to reduce the need to import crude oil from the Middle East. This is true especially in East Asian countries that are expected to double the rate of the combined nations, even if China has enough oil reserves. Its price hike in the 70’s that punished different economies was only recovered in 1993 (Meyrick –). In Asia, Japan has the largest number of owned ships that occupies a 12.93% share in Asia’s 30.05% share of ship owning in the world. This is followed by the People’s Republic of China (5.25%), Hongkong (4.67%), Korea (3.12%), Taiwan (2.14%), and Singapore (1.94%). Asian countries like Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Hong Kong, China, and Singapore owns half of the top 20 largest container shipping lines in the world. Malaysia is also trying its best to be among these countries on top of the list. It is expected that it will continue to rise for more years to come, as more countries are attracted to join the group (Meyrick –).
Figure 2. Evolution of the cruise ship industry (Oceana)
As shown in the figure above (Figure 2), just like what is said by Oceana, cruise ships are increasing its popularity as more and more people want to try cruising. Some of these places are outside Europe, which poses a worse scenario as it is home of the most endemic creatures. With over 50 companies owning hundreds of vessels aimed at bringing millions of people to places they never thought existed. With tourism as their facade, more often than not it is the thought of monetary compensation to be had from these cruises, that has caused many financiers and stakeholders to add more and more vessels that travel the seas for luxury cruising. Most of them have forgotten their responsibilities, about caring for the environment and towards keeping the environment clean with only the thought of financial gain in their minds (Oceana –).
Exotic cruises like a Caribbean/Mediterranean Cruise that is the most popular choice in places to visit via a cruise line (Figure 3) shows that plenty a passenger ride these cruises and while travelling the seas, they bring with them their garbage that are all dumped in the sea. 50 companies own hundreds of ships just to bring millions of people to places they never thought existed. Caribbean / Mediterranean is the most popular place to cruise (Figure 3). All facilities like pool, theatres, bars, restaurants, saunas, and many others are also provided by these fleets. Because of this, they produce large amounts of waste; some of which are dumped few miles away from the land. It is of note that 1, 000 tonnes of waste per day is produced by a ship with 2,000 – 3, 000 passengers. 550, 000 to 800, 000 litres were greywater, 100, 000 to 115, 000 litres were blackwater, 13, 500 to 26, 000 litres were oily bilge water, 7, 000 to 10, 500 kilos of solid waste, and lastly, 60 to 130 kilos were toxic. This types of practices destroys the sea, the land, our environment and all the living species that dwell within the area of dumping This destroys our environment (Oceana –).
For example, the Grand Cayman Island became a victim when 1.2 million square meters of coral were destroyed by the anchor of a cruise ship. This situation is similar to that of Mexico’s Cancun National Park, Jamaica, and Florida. Aside from anchors, building docking and servicing also contributes to the destruction of the coral reefs. In Spain, the Atlantic and the Cantabrian coasts are the more in-demand places for cruising. Figure 4 suggests the number of people leaving the different ports for cruising (Figure 4) (Oceana –). It might be noted that cruising has become a popular leisure or vacation activity and many people wanting to relax and get away from it all choose to go on cruises since they are virtually cut off from land while they are in the middle of ocean, cruising, giving them time to relax and unwind which may be one of the main attractions that cruising holds for the tourist or passenger (Oceana –).
In Annex I of Marpol, it states the limitation of allowed waste to be thrown into the water (1/15000 of the total ship’s cargo, and may not exceed 60 liters per mile) (Oceana –). Taking a cruise might be an adventure of a lifetime, enabling one to visit exotic places and scenic views but one should also consider the harm that is done by ignorant or simply uncaring people who are part of the cruise ship, personnel and passengers alike
Figure 3. Number of Passengers in a tourist destination (Oceana)
Figure 4. Number of Passengers in different ports in Spain. (Oceana)
One may note that not all are considered enemies of the environment, aside from protecting the people of Australia and some merchant ships against other navies and pirates, the Australian navy is also a protector of the environment. Majority of the people lives near the coast. Because of this geographical set-up, they need to distribute the goods to some places in Australia through vessels. Just like the US Navy and the Canadian Navy, they are promoting the security of the environment, primarily the marine ecosystem. It was known to history that in World War I and II, maritime trade was once threatened by other groups that affected their economy. Terrorism is already enough reason to have strong navy forces. Obviously, these kinds of attack will impede the trading between Australia and different countries. If this happens, other areas will be paralyzed and this will have country-wide effects. With the help of nuclear powered submarines, cruise missiles, surveillance satellites and long range-maritime strike aircraft all of these will be easily counteracted. But resources and dispersed populations is a limitation for them (Sea Power Centre Australia –). Other factors limit the Australian navy, such as the diversity within the merchant fleet, the size and design of merchant ship, routes, and strategic ports (Sydney, Melbourne/Geelong, Dampier, New Castle, Haypoint, Port Hedland, Gladstone, and Port Walcott). At present they trade heavily with North East Asian countries, specifically with Japan and China. It was reported in 2003 – 2004 that the export products from Australia were primary products that amount to 43% of the total exported merchandise. They are coal ($10.9 billion), gold ($5.7 billion), iron core ($5.2 billion), crude oil ($4.6 billion), bovine meat ($4 billion), aluminum ($3.8 billion), wheat ($3.4 billion) and passenger motor vehicles ($2.9 billion). Most of the in-demand imported goods are passenger motor vehicles, crude petroleum, computers, medicaments, telecommunications equipments, aircraft and parts, petroleum products and chemicals. They consume 20 million barrels of oil in every 26 days. The registered merchant fleets in Australia total 46 ships (Sea Power Centre Australia –).
Maritime in the perspective of South Africa is composed of ships and people. Maritime environment include seas, oceans, bays, estuaries, islands, coastal areas, and the space above. South Africa in 1994 had their Maritime Zones Act that declares the country’s Exclusive economic zone and protectorates and jurisdiction. This also protects all marine life and resources that South Africa has, like diamonds and fishes. South Africa’s trade and economy depends on these since they are a predominantly maritime nation. They are also a major exporter of mineral, raw materials, and agricultural goods, and they need ships to bring these products to different importing countries. The market of the African region is also dependent on their economy. Cruise line tourism is also a growing industry in South Africa. They give importance to their maritime resources, especially the ocean, that is why they are protecting their ports fiercely. The South African navy works with the Department of Transport, South African Maritime Safety Authority, Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, to prevent pollution in its territorial waters (Navy.mil.za –).
One may note that 80% of the different goods that we buy are shipped, one way or another, through domestic and international shipping which makes cruise lines and maritime trade an important aspect of the world economy and an important determining factor of the continuous deterioration of the maritime ecosystem with neglect and carelessness of sea travelers. Especially those who stay in the ship days or even months at a time, leaving them plenty of time to dirty the waters they tread upon. Products from different parts of the world, especially oil, lumber, sugar, rice, reach us through shipping. Mr. Ronald Wall (2002) said that despite having a good thing in transporting goods through ships, these have long term effects in the environment. Usually this starts in places that the public cannot see. He also said that there are many incidents of oil spills from ships annually. These oil spills are not due to tanker accidents, but because of ship and vessel cleaning that contributes more pollution to the water than accidents. About 50% of oil that spills in the sea comes from the land. Sometimes the ballast of the ships, carry with them some insidious organisms that can be harmful to other species. After they are destroyed and deemed useless, they are disposed of indiscriminately. These are only some of the problems that a few of us know. These oil spills not only destroy the water where it was spilt, making that water an unusable commodity and instead of it being a life giving entity, it becomes the killer of land and air animals and marine life where these oil spills occur (Wall 2002).
The International Maritime Trade between groups and countries is more than hundred of years now, as supported by the different agreements, treaties, conventions, and practices that were signed, and agreed between countries and groups. Nowadays, ships are not allowed to flash their wastes while they are in operation, especially when they are three miles from the shoreline (Wall 2002). Under the MARPOL Treaty, once there is a violation they can be punished by paying a fine per incident of $500,000 and long term imprisonment. A new technology was devised that will separate water from the oil, and even changed the procedures for ballasting. They also require all tankers to have double hulls. In 1997, the United States ratified a certain part of the MARPOL treaty, which now controls the discarding of plastics in the country’s territorial waters. He mentioned that the problem with plastics and other biodegradable materials is their contact with marine organisms that may result to injury or intoxication and eventually lead to death. For instance, among turtles. Aside from this, plastic strapping is the second most predominant cause of strangling among seals, only after fish nets. Floating debris is also another culprit. The governments and different bodies implemented strict policies to make sure that the ships follow these laws; however, the problem is there are still some who obviously violate these policies, as well as the difficulty that authorities, particularly the Coast Guard, to comply with the different standards (Wall 2002).
In 1995, reports indicate that no waste is found on ships every time they conduct inspections. In 2000, the International Coastal Cleanup was able to collect 13 million pounds of waste in 60 countries, 4 million of which were collected from the United States. Presently, there are 200 cruise ships in the world, where 9 million people enjoy the luxury of life. In a week, one cruise ship can create 210,000 gallons of garbage, 1, 000, 000 gallons of greywater, 8 tons of solid waste, and 25, 000 gallons of oil with water. This includes used paint, and dry cleaning products (Wall 2002). From 1993 to 1998, cruise ships were caught up in 87 illegal discharges, which compose only 4% of the total illegal emission. Though they have oil record books, companies can still falsify it, like the case of Royal Caribbean. They tried to plea, but then they repeated it again, the next time they asked for the plea, they were placed in a probationary plan that they need to meet. These cruise lines need the marine ecosystem to sell their product, to sell their offer. As this industry grows, we should expect a greater effect from them. We should be vigilant (Wall 2002)
III. Cause and Effect
In his paper, Jason Benis wrote that the first cruise line navigation is in Europe in 1844. The United States only started in 1867. It first started as an outlet for pleasure and only became open for public transportation after World War I. In 1958, it was formally finalized when transatlantic air service was made known to the public. The hit TV series Love Boat made it more popular, that resulted to the clamor of the people for cruising vacations. Soon cruising companies opened that later on became popular in the world (Carnival Cruise Corporation, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, and Princess Cruise Lines). Its rising popularity and demand will later affect our environment in different aspects. It is believed that it can sustain its growth in the United States because of its high satisfaction rating. This potential will make the companies acquire more ships in order to respond to such clamor. This will provide more jobs for people in the tourism industry. All of the cruise ships are registered to meet the different requirements per country (crew nationality and composition, ship-owner citizenship, shipbuilding standards). The country is responsible for ensuring that these vessels will meet international standards. Aside from the United States, Panama, Liberia and the Bahamas have the most number of registered vessels. All of them must observe the law regarding pollution of water and air. The exclusive economic zone implements different environment laws like Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA), Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90), Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1972, Resources Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), and Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (Bennis 2000).
Different standards were also administered by the IMO, and can only be amended by its members. MARPOL (1970 International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships) prevents ships from dumping their waste through high international environment standards. It has six annexes, each discussing some material. They are oil, hazardous liquid substance in bulk, hazardous substance in package form, sewage disposal, plastic disposal, and air pollution. In his study, he aims to show the extent of water and air pollution created by 150 foreign flagged cruise ships in North America and its effects. Five pollutants, as considered by EPA, were present: nitrogen oxide, particulate matter, hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and sulfur dioxide. In his results, it seems that every year all of the respondents emit nitrogen oxides with 156, 000, 000 kilograms pollutant, particulate matter 3, 000, 000 kilograms pollutant, hydrocarbons with 6, 500, 000 kilograms pollutant, carbon monoxide with 20,000,000 kilograms pollutant, and Sulfur dioxide 164, 000, 000 kilograms pollutant. They seem to be only 2%, but produces big participation in pollution of water and air more than the combined emissions by other fleets. He attributed this to the wrong choice of black marine fuel (Bennis 2000). This contributes to the criteria pollutants in shorelines, ports, and coastal cities. It is also a cause of acid rain. It also contributes to the ground-level zone that causes some illnesses, especially in the respiratory system. He said that cruise ships produces seven types of waste such as plastics, food, graywater, hazardous substance, non-plastic trash, sewage, and oil, which is the most dumped waste in water amounting to 93% from 1993 to 1998 in the United States. Most of them are unintentional since oil just mixed with water while cleaning and cooling the engines. Because of this, authorities required each fleet to have a system that will separate oil and water, the oil will be collected in the port. All of this will be recorded. But the problem is they may have only discovered a small part of the operation since not all are documented. Another problem is that financial funding for the US Coast Guard is cut off. Some of them were even fired (Bennis 2000).
Oil existence in water can poison all living things. They can result to lesions, toxicity, disorders, erosion, genetic and physiological changes, disturbances, and congestion among marine animals. It also destroys beaches and other beautiful places, lessen the population, and many other negative effects. The most effective means for detecting oil emissions is through self-reports and third party reports, especially if the ships are not moving or are just traveling slowly. He also highlighted the importance of the role of authorities, especially the U.S Coast Guard in ensuring that no violations are committed by the fleets in their territory. They have the power to prevent, detect and investigate such activities. Having different subdivisions (Operating expenses (OE), Acquisition, Construction, and Improvements (AC&I), and Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E), Search and rescue (SAR), Marine safety (MS), and Enforcement of Laws and Treaties (ELT)), and its many employees, it can manage to deal with the different marine issues (Benis 2000).
In the MBA paper of Kalena Bailey and colleagues (–), it is said that cruising lines are one of the most popular tourism activities that is constantly in contact with the environment. Tourist uses cruise in order to get to the different tourist destinations in different countries. However, this tourist spots are already experiencing destruction, as well as their national traditions, making it more difficult for the local economies to sustain even if there are a large number of tourists coming. It is noted that there are already incidents where cruise ships polluted the sea, and they were efforts to solve this problems, however, the authors said that much effort is needed to improve what is already there. In this paper, they defined sustainable tourism as the requirements of the entire present tourist and the country, at the same time preserving and developing it for the future, that someday all the resources will be handled well so that all the all the needs will be satisfied, while keeping up with the economic, socio-cultural and environmental components. For it to be sustainable, the negative effects of it must be lessened. True enough, one of the reasons for the success of sustainable tourism is the creation of policies that considers the protection and preservation of the natural environment as a priority. In 2002, the Agenda 21 of the United Nations was adopted by 178 countries that presents different ways to different countries in every aspect that humans have an effect in the environment. This resulted to the creation of the World Tourism Organization, Commission on Sustainable development, and the UN Environment Program (Bailey et al –).
For the past years, cruise lines have significantly emerged as a sector of the tourism industry. In the paper’s graph, cruise line’s gross revenues resulted to $14.7 Billion. It is also expected that in 2010, more than 14.2 million people will travel, thus increasing the number of gross revenue in 2010. This industry is dominated by the North American markets. This success is dependent on their two components: the marine eco-system and the ports. However, there are reports that the cruise line industry is polluting these two components, i.e. waste water and solid waste. The difference between the Waste water or grey water and black water is that grey water comes from the sinks, showers, and other cleaning activity, while black water comes from the toilets, urinals, and infirmaries. These kinds of water pave the way for the growth of algae and other aquatic plants. This also contains water that is unsafe for underwater plants and animals. Solid waste on the other hand poisons a lot of marine animals annually. This also destructs the coral reefs that greatly affect the marine plants and animals. Since they are biodegradable, they are brought by currents on ports, harbors, or shores, thus polluting the coastal area. The presence of the cruise line industry can result to soil erosion, greater pollution especially when they discharge chemicals into the sea, loss of natural habitat for endangered and threatened species, and heightened pressure on them. One of the top tourist spots is the Caribbean and the Mediterranean (Bailey et al –). This is where most endangered and threatened species live.
Cruise ship destinations would include places with endangered or threatened species. In fact in 2003, it is approximated that more than 70% goes to this places. Some of the other reasons that destruct the marine ecosystem are the following: anchoring, snorkeling, sport fishing, scuba diving, yachting, and cruising. 90 out of 109 countries reported that their reefs are broken is because of cruising, anchoring and sewaging. The tourists do this just to earn something from selling the harvest form the corals. They do this because of money. It is even reported in one of the study that in one day, an area as large as a football field was completely destructed, and it would take them 50 years to be revived again. One fact mentioned in the paper is this: a passenger of 3, 000 passengers per voyage will produce an amount of 70, 000 tons of waste annually. From the paper, they stated that more than 3.5 kilograms of garbage on a cruise is a threat already as compared to the .8 kilograms of waste produced by the natives in the shore. Because of this, some already started with their own waste management system while some remains apathetic. Recycling is one way, the others invested on waste water treatment like the ULTRA-SEP 10000, while some used other techniques like what the US Navy is using Plasma Arc Waste Destruction System to treat all solid waste. Presently, they are aiming to do the same process with water waste. They also have environmental programs like Crystal Cruises Crystal Clean, a project that is against littering. All of these projects are in coordination with the laws of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships at Sea (MARPOL), and International Council for Cruise Lines (IICL) to name a few. Their paper is telling us that the governments, agencies, and industries must be responsible enough to take initiatives in protecting and preserving the environment, and in the case of this paper, the tourist spots. Though efforts were already made, there are still some places where there is no improvement. They suggested that the coastal ecosystem must be protected because of the benefits that it continuously gives to the people. Cruise lines must also continue to adopt different programs that will lessen the production of waste in the sea, that follow certain conventional accepted criteria (Bailey –).
Products like the volatile organic compound (VCO) and membrane bioreactor wastewater treatment is also one of the measures initiated in UK to prevent water pollution. VOC compression system lessens the contraction of shuttle tanker oil cargo. The boiler burns methane (5 to 30 %) and ethane that produces steam for operating the VOC compression system. Continuous development of this treatment is on going, and a concept of VCO recycling is on hand. Aside from this VCO compression system, there is a new and advanced treatment of wastewater called as Membrane Bioreactor (MBR) was developed. This is based on biological dilapidation and separation of membranes. It was conceptualized from the tested treatment technology that its developers used to treat wastewater. A filter that collects water and screens the black and grey water in vessels purifies it thru the different processes and makes it ready to be use again. This activity is fully certified (Marine Log 2003)
An increase in waste dumped by commercial and military ships in the sea increased as the late 19th and early 20th century introduced industrialization. It was only realized after some environmentalist made it as a big deal in the early 20th century. Brian Shannon pointed out that between the two, the military ships are more contributors of waste in the ocean. He later supported this statement by giving the U.S Nimitz nuclear carrier as an example. This carrier with its 5, 000 crews actually contribute 34 million litres of waste and 15 tons of plastic waste each day. Although there is the existence of MARPOl, that only allows food waste to be thrown in some selected bodies of water, the treaty does not have a jurisdiction on military vessels. This is because military vessels have space and signature considerations. They try to battle it out, against the accusations against them, and until now, although they don’t have the choice but to follow MARPOL, they are finding some ways to deal with it. They are now thinking of using a plasma torch incinerator that will vitrify their waste into something that can be stored. NATO in 1992 also thought of the possibility of having what they call an environmentally sound warship. The U.S Navy, as well as the Canadian Navy, cruise lines, and Caribbean nations, showed an interest in managing their plastic waste. The U.S Navy was successful in disposing their plastic waste because of a technology that enables them to control their plastics. This technology is introduced first in 1996. For other efforts of putting incinerators in their vessels, the U.S Navy needs to spend $1.2 billion, and $300 million for pulpers and shredders as an alternative to the incinerators. New sets of employees are also needed in order to help the Navy to device a permanent waste management system (Shannon 1997).
Anyone who violates the environmental policies and procedures, like oil pollution and discharging of waste, will be imposed by civil and criminal penalties as determined by the CLIA standards. The U.S Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) 1986 is also applicable when one or many commercial vessels throws waste in the sea or ocean. Aside from being liable, it also asks for a compensation of what is committed, while cleaning the polluted area as determined by the federal and the state governments. On the other hand, the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90)and the federal Clean Water Act has the jurisdiction in imposing accountability and criminal penalties to those who committed illegal oil secretion, as well as wastewater, sewage and other harmful chemicals. In the United States, all laws regarding the maritime wildlife and cruise line is implemented by the United State Coast guard in local and international vessels. Since it is a federal government each states has their own laws also. They inspect the vessels regularly to make sure that they are complying with the different measures set earlier (Cruise Lines International Association –).
The products from the different species, i.e. ivory, tortoise shell jewelry, in the wildlife are a big thing in business, especially when traded with other countries or states. There is this big demand for different plants and animals because they bring big profit in the government. To counter this acts and to put a stop in the total exhaustion of this resources, an international treaty called as Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora was formed by the United States and other countries. The treaty promotes the protection and preservation of the endangered and threatened species, and at the same time permitting the trade of the species that can manage to be traded. The treaty identifies the Species that are strictly banned in Commercial trade because of extinction or threat of extinction, and those species allowed but with permits. Now, there are 120 members that include the major producers and consumers of wildlife species. As members they are expected to make sure that their countries wildlife is protected and developed by making a Management Authority that will have the power to permit the trade of wildlife products. Aside form that, a Scientific Authority will determine the condition of the species intended to be traded. The treaty applies to all the members (Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora –).
In the United States, the Congress passed the Endangered Species Act in 1973 as a way to protect the species, particularly the endangered and threatened ones, from the further worsening effects of man’s economic and development activities. This law applies to all the territories of the United States. This law served as guide for many other countries and state who wishes to have their own policy such as this. Among the two departments in the Federal government that is responsible for the implementation of this act is the National Marine Fisheries Service of the Commerce department. In this law, killing, hunting, collecting, injuring or harassing, selling or buying, and destructing the natural habitat of those considered endangered is illegal. For the threatened species, it still depends on the conservation requirements of the organism. Aside from that; there is this critical habitat to ensure that fast revitalization of the species happens. The recognition of species as endangered depends on the number of population decline (Department U.S Fish and Wildlife Service –)
In 1972, another law called the Marine Mammal Protection Act was passed by the United States Congress which also prohibits killing, hunting, injuring or harassing, importing them and even the products made from all marine mammals whether the population is declining or not. The act includes polar bears, walruses, sea otters, sea lions, and many others. However there are also exceptions that this law provides us, first, if it is for scientific and public display purposes only, second, for the survival of the natives in the North Pacific and Arctic coasts, and lastly, if ever they were caught incidentally. Like the Endangered Species Act, this is implemented by two departments, the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service of the Department of the Interior and the National Marine Fisheries Service of the Commerce department. Under this act, the Marine Mammal Commission was created to be the source of professional scientific advice concerning the marine mammals. The two federal departments consult the commission in performing their duties under this act. The commission will draw their advice based from their continuous review and study of the marine mammals and their activities. They also make some recommendations that they need to study and work on that they think are important in the defense and preservation of the mammals. This act stands as the official rules of the United States in coordinating with the international agreements that touch the safety of marine mammals. It also gives incentives to other countries in terms of economy, in their effort to meet the goals of this act. They are against the wrong way of fishing and other such malpractices (Marine Mammal Commission –). There are many endangered species in that thrive in marine sanctuaries that are supposed to be protected by the government it might be noted even as marine sanctuaries and protected habitats and coral reefs abound many unscrupulous individuals tend to bypass the laws and still fish in prohibited waters sometimes even using dynamite in their fishing sprees without any regard for the destruction they are causing but only thinking about their profits, this is quite sad to note that in order to profit the lives of other species are endangered, it may also be of note that sometimes these kinds of people event hunt the endangered species for the profit they will reek for their capture of such through selling their meat, skin and such and the black market pays heftily for such catches.
In her study of Hawaii’s marine wildlife, especially the endangered and threatened Humpback whales, dolphins, green turtles and Hawaiian monk seals in Hawaii, Ms. Emily Gardner (–) discussed the cause and effect of man’s activities to the ecosystem. She defined ecosystem as the environment of all living species, which includes their habitat with these species cohabiting and living with and off each other, following what should have been the determined course of nature if left undisturbed. It may be small, and it may be big called biomes. She said that these creatures found in Hawaii are endangered because their populations have decreased significantly. She also added that some of the other species in Hawaii are also threatened because they are just starting to decline, and most probably in due time, will be scarce. According to scientists, there are approximately 10 million species in the world, but only more than 10% are known. And because of man’s selfish activities and lifestyle, like trade and consumption of endangered species, we many not be able to see the remaining 90%. In fact, in some recent statistics, 50, 000 species are dying each year because man remains ignorant of his role in the ecosystem, and the impact of the species’ absence. it will be hard to know the endangerment of this species for the basic reason that man is not aware of the presence of this species, that die every time we exploit the environment. They will only be considered as extinct once all of those individuals in that species die and all the biological evidences like genes can never be revived or traced again. Ecologists on the other hand said that extinction in the present is as many times greater than the normal rate, and it is because people have seriously disturbed the populations of these species over time (Gardner –). She presented different factors that involve the balance of the ecosystem. First, is the population of the living organism in a particular ecosystem, for example the seas. This size varies over time: death, birth, migration (immigration and emigration), life expectancy, number of years the species is able to produce, etc. There is this population growth when species just come and join, and nobody leaves, while there is population decline when species are just leaving the ecosystem and less people are joining. Second one is the accessibility of renewable and non-renewable resources. These resources are needed for the survival of every species. Examples of renewable materials or replaced resources are food, water, etc. An example of non-renewable or irreplaceable resources is space. Both of them determine the carrying capacity of the ecosystem, or the allowed number of organism that the ecosystem can support. Competitions and predator-prey relationships among species or member of species are necessary in order to tell which group is victorious and will eventually survive. Predator-prey would mean that an organism in order to survive must get resources from or eat another living organism. The third part of his paper highlighted the responsibility that man has in terms of the ecosystem. Since we are all members of nature, we should take care of our lands, as well as other organisms. The paper emphasized that in Hawaii it is through man’s activity that an organism lost its habitat; therefore creating a population decline of the endangered and threatened species of the world. In fact 50% of the island’s natural communities are getting critical. She said that we must maintain balance in our needs and the needs of others. The species and their environment relates with each other so that balance will be reached. Last factor is the flow of energy in the ecosystem or the food chain. She also said that as human, our relation with other people is important, but we must never forget our relationship with the sea. Hawaiians see the ocean as a place for other creature that should be protected, and she hopes this will become our principle too (Gardner –).
As the awareness of people increases with issues regarding the importance of the environment, businesses are pressured to consider environment friendly policies and projects and some of them seemingly agreed although there are still some who do not adhere although secretly, in this regard this writer believes that the government and other concerned agencies be more aware and that continuous implementation and monitoring and random checking be done that these unscrupulous fellows who chose to continuously destroy the environment be caught and punished to the fullest extent that they might serve as proof of the seriousness of the problem and the seriousness of the government to control the rising problem. The president of environmental compliance in Holland tells in an article that having a clean environment is the best way to attract people especially if one is in a cruise line industry ensuring it for in the simplest sense that it will affect all of us. It must be a priority not only for the government but for every individual who hopes for a better future for their children and a good environment where every living thing can thrive and live in harmony. (World Cruise Network 2005). Awareness and the change in manner among employees are important. This will be felt eventually by their customers. Recycling and segregation, he said, is the best way to reduce waste. It is a prerequisite that each vessel must have waste treatment facilities that also needs further efforts of development. He also discusses some solutions in reducing or eliminating the production of sulfur oxide. Decision making in choosing the quality of fuel that ships can use to achieve this goal. As of the moment there is a need for them to move faster in discovering or refining the gas that we have for there are no low-sulphur gases available currently. They recognize that it will take time to achieve this feat but it must be done and somehow done at the soonest possible time and with the strictest care that everything is followed and done with the safety of environment in mind without thought of other concerns especially financial ones when ultimately one can realize that in the end profit is gained upon investment on environmental concerns that will save it in the end. What they can use to somehow start with the reform is to have a footprint and scrubber waste disposal that will heighten fuel burning. Techniques on removing waste from cargo vessels, cruise lines and commercial shipping vessels that is aimed at disposal without harming the environment, use of biodegradable materials that can help the environment in the end, improvement of biofuel and continuous development of alternatives to powering up vessels that will travel land and seas. These technologies must continuously be reassessed, especially now that regulation bodies are stricter. He also said that different companies must double their effort and take initiative in protecting the environment rather than being dictated. It is essential. Nowadays, biodegradable oils are useful. They use banana oil, orange oil, and soy based additives to clean their ships (World Cruise Network 2005).
From the literature studied it was determined that water in its entirety really plays an important role in the existence of all living things. Life would not be possible if water is not there. Humans need water to drink and stay alive, to bathe and stay clean. Another important aspect is that humans need the species that live within water for food and clothing, even for leisure and extracurricular activities. After all the review of related literatures was done, the researcher concluded as follows.
First, one of the main beneficiaries of water is man, aside from animals and plants. But among the three, it is man who can think uprightly and choose to act in the right or wrong way. Ultimately he is responsible for the changes that are taking place within his environment, good or bad. Nature gives us numerous benefits like food, shelter, and even the materials for the clothes that we wear everyday. In fact we enjoy a lot of things from it, like accessories and our cigarettes, to the point that we tend to forget all the responsibilities that we have in taking care of the environment. No one else will look after nature than the very ones who benefit from it and take care of nature is what has to be done if we plan to reek in more benefits from it now and in the coming years. Whatever we take must be replaced. Let us all remember that whatever we do, we will reap it, and nobody else would. Our continuing neglect of the environment and the continuous abuse nature gets from us is ultimately returned to us in the form of natural disasters and calamities, the climate changes (el niño/la niña phenomenon), landslides that kill hundreds if not thousands of people, the Tsunami that took millions of lives, all are products of the abuse that we have bestowed upon the environment.
The luxury that we are experiencing right now will never be the same again years from now if we will not put a stop to our selfish acts and start doing little acts towards saving the environment. What happened 65 to 100 million years ago can happen in the future if things will not change now. It is true that once it is gone, we can never find a way to replace it (Gardner –). Even if we say that they only the life on water is affected by all of this, we may be wrong for this belief. We are highly dependent on each other. There are some things that in life that only creatures from water can give. As a citizen, we must put a limit to what we should from nature (Gardner –). It must be of note that even as the world contains vast resources, it is not unlimited and the way we have used and misused it has taken its toll and the resources are getting depleted. The few that are not are fast becoming unviable sources where no one can benefit from. If there will be no clear and implementing guidelines that will be monitored during implementation we might find ourselves without anything at all and that even with the technologies we have invented and developed might not be enough to save our world.
The cruise line industry may have already realized the problems they have made and programs and projects were already started by the different cruise lines, and different maritime organizations (Bailey –). They have admitted that there are indeed problems on their side of the fence, but implementation of policies and guidelines has started, aside from having the systems, projects, technologies and programs, some would have grinders for food and product waste, incinerators, having state of the art engine rooms to reduce liquid ejection (Cruise Lines International Association –).
Random boarding and inspections, vessel tracking, third party reports, aerial reconnaissance, and many other methods employed are not just enough. But the greatest question is the sustainability of these programs. Laws and certain sea policies were also implemented by selected countries, but the question is how strict the implementers are in administering these laws and policies. If the governing body were just strict in the implementation of the law, then there would not be anybody who will remain apathetic on this issue. Systems, devices, and strategies are continuously developed and created, yet only a few actually use this. Awareness is the key for this (Cruise Lines International Association –). Aside from devising ways in order to save the ecosystem it is imperative for the government to provide for information dissemination regarding the hazards and dangers of not taking care of the environment, information about how man in ultimately destroying the ecology by simple things they deem to be innocent but eventually harm the environment. Information about how a simple, normal individual can help alleviate the growing environment problem should also be part of the plan. Various mediums on how to spread the information can be derived including advertisement thru television, newspapers, radio even billboards and ads signs that will continuously promote saving of the environment. Another avenue for information dissemination can be public forums, community meetings and such, most especially for the most affected areas of the world. It is also important to realize or to let the people realize that every single and little step counts and that everyone should be concerned that it is not only the problem of the select few but of the whole world in general including them and their children or future children.
If only they know how much danger they are imposing nature because of being irresponsible, then there would be no reason for them to continue these acts. . And in this sense no one can say that they did not know anything about the wrong deeds they have continuously done towards the environment although one can also say that ignorance of all of these is not an excuse. What they need is a unified set of laws that is applicable in any place that serves heavy punishment for those who will ever try to validate these things. It must be realized that laws and guidelines are generally already in place with regards to marine preservation but the problem lies in implementation and monitoring to ensure that all regulations are followed by concerned parties. Much stricter implementation of all laws must be sought. What they need is strong monitoring and effective enforcement measures. There are still allowable wastes that can be thrown in the water in a certain distance: like food waste, hazardous substances, graywater, non-plastic trash, sewage, and oil. If they really want to save the water, then they should be stricter by totally not allowing wastes even in some certain degrees. The authorities must extend the coverage of their power in implementing the different standards and ensuring that the standards they themselves set are being followed and adhered to by the industries they govern and at the same ensuring that punishment to those who fail to comply with the standards are heavily and completely penalized according to their set standards that adherence will be strictly complied with and without any regard for the hierarchy of the penalized party, meaning that the party can be the richest man or the poorest man but still penalized equally and punished or rewarded as such.. They must add other members to the group that will help them in order to solve the problem of the vastness of the sea which will make tracking of waste and administering of the law easier (Wall 2002). More staff, more equipments, more resources, and definite procedures. Funding is very important for this and the government as an agency must finance their coast guards, departments, or commissions that has jurisdiction with this issue (Benis 2000).
Based from the discussion in the review of related literature the government’s effort to strictly implement the laws is based on the importance of the maritime ecosystem in their economy, sometimes it’s a shame to realize that there are times that it all boils down to money. South Africa for example, being a major maritime industry carefully and vigilantly protects their territorial waters, and implements and monitors strict rules about this because their economy on this and the economy of inland African nations depend on them. Why is South Africa so keen on protecting their waters? The simplest answer notes that the ocean is where they get water, if this water gets polluted, then they will not have anything to drink and as water is vital for living they will die. Interest is still a big factor here. Furthermore, rewards should also be given to those ships who comply with the different standards and laws maybe in the form of tax rebates and discounts. Thus making the compliance with the standards not only a rule to comply with but as a prize to be coveted since they are able to derived something out of complying to it. Due to the different adverse effects of human activities upon the marine wildlife, legislators must be able to come up with laws to achieve better protection of marine wildlife and effective management of the seas and all the resources associated with it, both alive and inanimate. The international treaties and conventions that were formerly established must be continued to ensure the efficiency of these treaties and at the same time, to make sure that the seas and marine wildlife would be properly protected. Declaration of certain areas of the globe as marine sanctuaries and certain areas were coral harvesting and even fishing is prohibited. Some concerned environmental groups also makes use of a variety of stuff we consider as garbage to become new homes to fishes and thereby promote a proper marine ecology and where fishes are allowed to thrive and live without fear and continuous efforts to preserve marine life and nurturing of endangered species, control and strict punishments for those who break the law will help curve the illegal deeds done. Each country must not change any of these standards or better yet allow for it to change but only in order to adhere to a more strict standard. In the same manner, the different businesses engaged in commercial and recreational lines must also be able to come with programs and initiatives that could help them in lessening the waste that they produce each year so as to lessen their contribution to water pollution. One may derive that even if only the existing rules and policies are strictly implemented we may notice a drastic change in the way the environment in general and the maritime ecology in particular is handled and preserved. Lesser environmental problems can be experienced and witnessed should strict implementation of these existing policies will be adhered to.
Secondly, the relationship between marine wildlife and the cruise lines can be derived as based on dependency, in the sense that a cruise liner needs the marine and natural environment simply because the industry is dependent on the hidden beauty of the world that is sometimes kept as a secret by the water and the best way to reach that particular nature spot is by passing thru the water and enjoying the entire scenery along the way, which made the journey more interesting because of the different beautiful sights during the trip. However, because of the wrong and careless attitude of some tourists, the water becomes polluted because of the different wastes thrown into the water including plastics and materials thrown in the water. In one study it was mentioned that what was really wrong was not the ship or the cruise, but the tourists themselves who join this cruises (Wall 2002). Instead of having a two-way relationship of giving and receiving, humans generally take and nature gives and one might will be right in saying that nature does not really deserve all the abuse it receives from all the things she has graciously and generously given to man. As an effect, the environment is destroyed, many species and animals die, the climate changes, and man became affected too, it is sad to note that now that men are affected by the destruction of the environment, men are now clamoring to save the environment that they themselves destroyed, calling on everyone to conserve energy and water and see what has been done to the environment, it is sad to see that if only from the beginning we have been vigilant and careful then all of these things, the disasters and calamities nature has decided as her revenge bestowed to the ones that destroyed her.
During the course of the research, although it was only through a review of literature and such, the researcher has realized the value of preserving life, not only that of the humans but also of the animals and other living entities, that in the course of the circle of life, we are all interdependent on one another to continue to survive and the depletion of one will ultimately mean the end for the other species as well, and this is something that we all must start to realize if we are to continue living in this earth. The author also realized that many opportunists see the sea as a financial haven full of opportunities for trade and profit without realizing that in the event that they fail to take care of the business they find themselves in, in the end, they too will suffer from loss of profit when the times comes that the seas have become a dead arena and will fail to provide the people who thrive and live within it and because of it.
In the end one may realize that even if hundreds of laws be passed but no strict implementing policy and continuous checks and monitoring is done, any law will fail and if unscrupulous individuals continue to get away with exploiting the environment then one will ultimately realize that other more unscrupulous individuals that will exploit the environment more will follow suit knowing that they can get away with it, so in this sense this writer is saying that punishment must be considered and implemented to the fullest extent that these individuals will learn their lesson and that no other personalities will follow suit because they know that they will not get away with it and in the end no profit will be gained from it instead they will find themselves both penalized, jailed or banned from any more dealings in their chosen businesses
There are plenty of ways in which we can earn some money, enjoy the nature, while we’re not doing anything that will destroy it and even protect it. This matter is not about money and any financial gain anymore, it is about the protection and care for the natural resources that ultimately feed and nurture us. This is about the present, and our future. We should invest more in saving all the resources that we have, rather than investing in wasting and destroying it because in the end it will be us who will be of benefit in our goal to protect the environment.
One good thing that comes out of this may only be that it is not too late, not too late to try to reverse the changes and save the environment we live in. Knowledge is power and armed with the knowledge that we have done wrong and the concomitant admission that the problem exists becomes a beginning in sorting out and solving the crises that besiege everyone, even the littlest infant. A little step at a time, even the youngest babe can help out, by not throwing garbage just anywhere especially in bodies of water, by recycling, by conserving water and other simple steps that might be done in order to help preserve the environment. Stakeholders and profiteers should realize that in preserving the environment and the marine ecology they ultimately preserve their businesses and the future profits they will gain if the environment where they conduct their businesses will be saved. And it is important that steps be taken now before it becomes too late. It is the fervent hope of this writer that as we make motions to allow our marine ecosystem to thrive and be able to start living again that we might have learned our lesson from the present events and teach our children and future protectors and users of the environmental resources to nurture and care for the environment for it is the only one we have and that if we learn to take care of them then nature will also take care of us.
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Cite this The Environmental Repercussions of Maritime Trade and Cruise Lines on Maritime Ecosystems
The Environmental Repercussions of Maritime Trade and Cruise Lines on Maritime Ecosystems. (2017, Mar 30). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/the-environmental-repercussions-of-maritime-trade-and-cruise-lines-on-maritime-ecosystems/