A company which was hired to dispose of cruise ship waste has been fined for illegally dumping the materials at a landfill in Cozumel. While the actions taken by the company Ecomar were illegal, there is no evidence that their actions were sanctioned by a cruise line.
An investigation led by Department of Ecology Director Germán Yáñez Mendoza established that Ecología Industrial y Marina del Caribe (Ecomar) had been ferrying waste from the island’s loading dock to a landfill before disposing of it in a vacant lot in Félix Arturo González Canto.
According to an article by Riviera Maya News, Ecomar was illegally transporting waste, including recyclable materials. However, the investigation was not able to connect the waste in question to any particular cruise line or ship.
The local agency initially received reports about the incidents on May 16. After a thorough investigation, they summoned representatives of the company to their office and asked them to produce the appropriate permits required in order to dispose of waste in the areas in question. Ecomar failed to comply with these requests and was consequently banned from using the island’s facilities.
Mendoza said the authority granted to his department only allows them to issue fines to companies without permits. Additional violations and penalties must come from Mexico’s state and federal governments.
Why Illegal Dumping ls a Major Issue For Cruise Lines
As one of the world’s busiest ports of call, waste management is an important issue for the island. With dive sites where sea turtles, dolphins, and manatees can be spotted, the largest island in Mexico has become a popular tourist destination, especially for cruise ships.
Cozumel welcomes over 1,100 cruise ships and more than 3.7 million guests each year. While there, ships often offload the garbage and recycling collected during the journey via companies which are paid to properly dispose of the materials.
The island is frequented by major cruise lines including Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Disney Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, and MSC Cruises.
Considering that medium-sized cruise ships produce an estimated 140,808 cubic meters of waste each year, government bodies have quite the task of ensuring that these ships do no damage to the local ecosystem.