Oceana today officially launched a national pledge campaign encouraging citizens to tell Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. that they will not spend their holiday dollars with the company until it ends its practice of dumping inadequately treated sewage into the oceans. Specifically, the pledge calls on Royal Caribbean to upgrade its entire cruise fleet with advanced wastewater treatment technology and submit to independent, third party monitoring and testing.
With the campaign just underway, Oceana has already gathered more than 30,000 new pledges from citizens across the nation, with a goal of securing at least 100,000 to present to Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean, by early next year. Dana DuBose, Oceana`s Cruise Pollution Campaign Director, described it as the start of a broader effort to educate consumers about Royal Caribbean`s disregard for the pristine ocean waters and sealife that it highlights in its advertising
“We`ve heard from angry citizens from one coast to the other,” said DuBose. “We`re focusing that outrage and showing Royal Caribbean that they will not continue to get away with harming the very oceans on which their profits depend.”
“I was planning to check out cruises as an option for a vacation next year, but I won`t even consider supporting an industry that destroys the very beauty that enables its operation,” said pledge signer Elizabeth Freel of Culver City, California.
Royal Caribbean`s 26-ship cruise fleet produces millions of gallons of wastewater every day, which are legally dumped into the ocean. The company has installed advanced wastewater treatment facilities only on their three Alaska-bound ships, Alaska being the only state that requires the advanced systems, but refuses to upgrade the remainder of the fleet.
“Royal Caribbean will be taking a huge gamble if it chooses to ignore this public outcry and continue with business as usual,” said Reed Bolton Byrum, a leading corporate governance authority. “A campaign like this can do great damage to a company`s reputation, and Royal Caribbean`s shareholder value could easily be affected for the worse.”
Earlier this year, senior representatives from Oceana and Royal Caribbean discussed a series of cost-effective pollution prevention actions that Royal Caribbean could take, monitored by a third party, to ensure that no raw or inadequately treated sewage is discharged into the ocean. Royal Caribbean ended the talks, however, refusing to upgrade their fleet even though estimates indicate that treating all of their waste with advanced systems would cost no more than the equivalent of a can of cola per passenger per day over a five-year period.
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