Personal watercraft (PWC) are damaging to the environment. Most of this damage can be traced to the type of engine they use. Until recently, most PWC were powered by two-stroke engines. These engines are notorious for being bad for the environment. One reason is the fuel they run on. Two-stroke engines burn a combination of oil and gasoline, which doesn't burn very efficiently and pollutes much more than just gasoline alone. And until 2006, the two-stroke engines in PWC were not required to have any pollution-control devices installed at all. The biggest problem with PWC, though, is the amount of unburned fuel they dump into the water. Personal watercraft dump 15 times more fuel into bodies of water annually than the Exxon Valdez spilled into Prince William Sound in 1989.
Personal watercraft have been polluting lakes and waterways for decades.
Personal watercraft have been polluting lakes and waterways for decades. (Image courtesy of California State Parks)
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