Letter to Editor: Negative publicity

To the Editor:

I was heartened to read the letter “Cruise Ship Costs Weighed” (September 19) by Kathleen M. Saul, indicating our land-based tourists are weighing in on the cruise ship problem, but disheartened by her list of the hazards created by the cruise ship industry.

A West Coast professor of economics and a recent visitor to Bar Harbor, she clearly articulates the disastrous effects (and cites her sources) of huge cruise ships on the landscape and seascape worldwide. Increasing concentrations of nitrogen oxides “contribute to the formation of smog and acid rain (harmful to plants and aquatic animals) and to the greenhouse effect now implicated in causing climate change.”

Saul mentions heavy fuel resulting in emissions of sulfur oxides as another cause of acid. Cleaning chemicals and other materials required for cruise ship maintenance are washed overboard contributing to water pollution. Grey (showers and sinks) and black water (sewerage), treated with chemicals, are dumped four to 12 miles offshore depending on the cruise line. All this is just a partial list which should also include the congestion, noise and crowds of nearly 6,000 passengers, requiring massive logistical efforts.

A headline in the Sept. 22 travel section of The Washington Post reads “Headed to Acadia National Park? Avoid Bar Harbor and and Anchor Yourself on the Quiet Side” should be a wake-up call.

Two years ago our local controversy pro and con cruise ships attracted interest but mostly impartial national attention; now we are receiving negative publicity.

As Saul asks rhetorically whether “Asian-made T-shirts, googly-eyed lobster magnets and mermaid bottle openers” are worth more than our health and our environment, we should be reflecting on this clear case of diminishing returns.

Inspired by our cruise ship problem, I understand Saul will be assigning a research project for her students in her fall curriculum. Perhaps this could (and should) be a joint effort with COA.

Roberta Chester

Bar Harbor

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