Cruise ships have returned to Greater Victoria for the first time in two years, and their waste has also returned to the local landfill.
In the last non-pandemic year, cruise ships docking in Victoria offloaded 2,100 tonnes of the solid waste before it was taken to Hartland Landfill Facility, according to a Capital Regional District committee report.
For reference, Greater Victoria produced 400 kg of solid waste per capita in 2021. The 2,100-tonne figure represented 1.3 per cent of all the solid waste landfilled in the Capital Region in 2019.
No cruise ships entered local waters in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As of the end of April, cruise vessels making their long-awaited return have so far dropped off 10 loads of solid waste – amounting to 20 tonnes sent to Hartland.
The International Waste Directive, governed by the Canada Border Services Agency and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, manages the solid waste coming from cruise ships that stop in Canada. The directive doesn’t require waste to be offloaded upon docking, with that decision being up to the ship’s crew to decide.
But given limited storage space, the CRD says regular offloading is a logistical necessity.
Solid waste is designated as either low-risk or high-risk, with the latter needing “immediate deep burial in trenches at Hartland.” Of the 2,100 tonnes that were dropped off by about 250 ships in 2019, about 30 per cent was high-risk material.
The CRD said all 10 loads received from cruise ships so far in 2022 have been classified as high-risk.
International waste at Hartland is charged a controlled waste fee that’s $47 more per tonne than the general refuse fee of $110 per tonne.
The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority is expecting more than 350 ships to stop in Victoria in 2022. Seventy-seven per cent have a six-hour stay or less.
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