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Tackling Marine Debris in the 21st Century 3 Measures to Prevent and Reduce Marine Debris and Its Impacts Avariety of laws, regulations, and nonregulatory measures can be applied to prevent or limit impacts of the disposal of garbage into the oceans. There are, however, no comprehensive programs designed to assess the amount and impacts of debris that is already in or will make its way into the oceans, or to remediate and remove that debris. This chapter reviews and identifies gaps in the existing international legal and regulatory framework, including port reception facilities. It then discusses and identifies gaps in U.S. domestic laws that are most relevant to prevention and reduction of marine debris from land as well as ocean-based sources. The chapter also addresses U.S. implementation of these regulations related to leadership and coordination, integrated solid waste management, waste minimization and source reduction, enforcement and compliance activities, and mitigation and removal programs. INTERNATIONAL LEGAL AND REGULATORY FRAMEWORK There are two primary international conventions that address garbage pollution in the oceans: the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, as modified by the Protocol of 1978 Annex V and the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter, 1972, and the 1996 Protocol to the Convention. The overarching framework for these international conventions is set in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
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Tackling Marine Debris in the 21st Century United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea The basic principles of international ocean law are set forth in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. This comprehensive treaty, which entered into force in 1994, describes the rights and responsibilities of nations to conduct and control activities in and affecting the oceans. Although the United States has not ratified the Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Executive Branch has submitted it to the U.S. Senate for advice and consent with a recommendation that it be ratified and that the United States considers most of its provisions to reflect binding customary international law (Van Dyke, 2008). The Convention sets out a number of duties that are relevant to the global marine debris problem (Box 3.1). These duties oblige nations to use their authority and BOX 3.1 Marine Debris Pollution and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea Provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea that require nations to combat marine debris include the following: Article 1: For the purposes of this Convention: …(4) “pollution of the marine environment” means the introduction by man, directly or indirectly, of substances or energy into the marine environment, including estuaries, which results or is likely to result in such deleterious effects as harm to living resources and marine life, hazards to human health, hindrance to marine activities, including fishing and other legitimate uses of the sea, impairment of quality for use of sea water and reduction of amenities. Article 192: States have the obligation to protect and preserve the marine environment. Article 194: (1) States shall take … all measures necessary to prevent, reduce, and control pollution of the marine environment from any source…. (5) The measures taken in accordance with this part shall include those necessary to protect and preserve rare or fragile ecosystems as well as the habitats of depleted, threatened or endangered species and other forms of marine life. Article 197: States shall cooperate on a global basis, and as appropriate, on a regional basis, directly or through competent international organizations, in formulating and elaborating international rules, standards and recommended practices and procedures … for the protection and preservation of the marine environment, taking into account characteristic regional features. Article 207: (1) States shall adopt laws and regulations to prevent, reduce and control pollution of the marine environment from land-based sources, including
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Tackling Marine Debris in the 21st Century rivers, estuaries, pipelines and outfall structures, taking into account internationally agreed rules, standards and recommended practices and procedures…. (5) Laws, regulations, measures, rules, standards and recommended practices and procedures … shall include those designed to minimize, to the fullest extent possible, the release of toxic, harmful or noxious substances, especially those which are persistent, into the marine environment. Article 210: (1) States shall adopt laws and regulations to prevent, reduce and control pollution of the marine environment by dumping. (2) States shall take other measures as necessary to prevent, reduce and control such pollution … (4) States acting especially through competent international organizations or diplomatic conference, shall endeavor to establish global and regional rules, standards and recommended practices and procedures to prevent, reduce and control such pollution … (6) National laws, regulations and measures shall be no less effective in preventing, reducing and controlling such pollution than global rules and standards. Article 211: (1) States, acting through the competent international organization or general diplomatic conference, shall establish international rules and standards to prevent, reduce and control pollution of the marine environment from vessels … Such rules and standards shall … be re-examined from time to time as necessary. (2) States shall adopt laws and regulations for the prevention, reduction and control of pollution of the marine environment from vessels flying their flag or of their registry … (3) States which establish particular requirements … as a condition for entry of foreign vessels into their ports or internal waters … shall … communicate them to the competent international organization. Article 216: (1) Laws and regulations adopted in accordance with this Convention and applicable international rules and standards established through competent international organizations or diplomatic conference for the prevention, reduction and control of pollution of the marine environment by dumping shall be enforced: (a) by the coastal State with regard to dumping within its territorial sea or its exclusive economic zone or onto its continental shelf; (b) by the flag State with regard to vessels flying its flag or vessels or aircraft of its registry; (c) by any state with regard to acts of loading of wastes or other matter occurring within its territory or at its off-shore terminals. Article 217: States shall ensure compliance by vessels flying their flag or of their registry with applicable international rules and standards … Article 218: (1) When a vessel is voluntarily in a port … of a state, that state may undertake investigations and, where the evidence so warrants, institute proceedings in respect of any discharge from that vessel outside the internal waters, territorial sea or exclusive economic zone of that state in violation of applicable international rules and standards established through the competent international organization or general diplomatic conference. SOURCE: United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982 (emphasis added).
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Tackling Marine Debris in the 21st Century jurisdiction to prevent degradation of the marine environment, including prevention of land- and ocean-based discharges of marine debris. The Convention encourages nations to act through international bodies, such as the International Maritime Organization (IMO), but makes it clear that nations have a continuing legal duty to exercise the full extent of their authorities over activities on land and at sea to supplement internationally agreed measures. The Convention on the Law of the Sea refers to national regulations to prevent marine pollution, as well as standards that are adopted through “competent international organizations” (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982, Article 61) for pollution from vessels. With regard to shipping and marine debris, IMO is the responsible body. International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, as modified by the Protocol of 1978 IMO, a specialized agency of the United Nations, was created in 1948 to establish consistent international regulation of the maritime industry. Membership in IMO includes 167 nations; several nongovernmental and intergovernmental organizations also participate in a consultative status (International Maritime Organization, 2008a). Through its specialized committees and subcommittees, the IMO Assembly has created a comprehensive body of international conventions and supporting annexes to govern international maritime commerce. Although IMO initially focused on developing regulations to promote safety, vessel accidents that resulted in significant pollution events led to IMO initiatives to include prevention and management of pollution associated with accidents and normal operations. The most significant of these initiatives is the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, as modified by the Protocol of 1978 (MARPOL). In its current form, MARPOL contains six operational annexes. These annexes address prevention of pollution by oil (Annex I), control of pollution by noxious liquid substances in bulk (Annex II), prevention of pollution by harmful substances carried by sea in packaged form (Annex III), prevention of pollution by sewage from ships (Annex IV), prevention of pollution by garbage from ships (Annex V), and prevention of air pollution from ships (Annex VI). Parties wishing to ratify MARPOL must ratify Annexes I and II. Ratification of the other annexes, including Annex V, is optional. When a nation agrees to become a “party” to an agreement, such as MARPOL Annex V, it is required to adopt domestic legislation to ensure implementation of the treaty requirements. In the United States, ratification requires the advice and consent of the Senate, enactment of enabling legislation, and appropriation of requisite funding. The United
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Tackling Marine Debris in the 21st Century States ratified MARPOL Annex V in 1987. Currently, 134 nations representing nearly 97 percent of the world’s tonnage are parties to MARPOL Annex V, which entered into force on December 31, 1988 (International Maritime Organization, 2008b). MARPOL Annex V: Prevention of Pollution by Garbage from Ships MARPOL Annex V seeks to eliminate or reduce the disposal of garbage from ships by specifying the conditions under which different types of garbage may be discharged. MARPOL Annex V prohibits the at-sea disposal of plastics of any kind and tightly restricts other discharges in coastal waters and designated “special areas.” MARPOL Annex V has been amended twice since it entered into force on December 31, 1988. In 1994, an amendment on port state control provisions was added, which establishes the framework for parties to ensure and promote compliance with the provisions of MARPOL Annex V through national inspection and enforcement programs applicable to vessels and shoreside facilities. In the United States, these programs apply to U.S. flag vessels located anywhere in the world, to foreign flag vessels in the territorial waters of the United States and calling in U.S. ports, and to shoreside facilities that are required to provide adequate reception facilities to vessels berthed at those facilities. In 1995, an amendment was added requiring garbage management plans and record books for all ships 400 gross tons and above and those certified to carry 15 persons or more, and placarding for all ships 12.192 meters (40 feet) or more in length. The garbage management plans and record books are discussed in further detail below. Under MARPOL Annex V, garbage is defined as “all kinds of victual, domestic, and operational waste excluding fresh fish and parts thereof, generated during the normal operation of the ship and liable to be disposed of continuously or periodically except those substances which are defined or listed in other Annexes to the present Convention” (International Maritime Organization, 2006d). Under the exception, it is clear that if components of the materials to be discharged are covered by more specific and stringent provisions of other MARPOL annexes, the more stringent provisions prevail. A more complicated question that is currently under review by parties to MARPOL (the review is being conducted by IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee; see section below for further discussion) is how to treat garbage that contains marine pollutants or harmful and hazardous substances not specifically covered by other MARPOL Annexes (International Maritime Organization, 2007). MARPOL requirements apply to all covered ships at all times, with the exception from certain requirements for vessel emergencies that require
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Tackling Marine Debris in the 21st Century a discharge to secure the safety of the ship and human life or that result from actions taken to secure the safety of the ship and human life. The accidental loss of synthetic fishing nets is also exempt under MARPOL Annex V, provided that reasonable precautions have been taken to prevent the loss (see detailed discussion in Chapter 4). Table 3.1 outlines the garbage management framework established by MARPOL Annex V. In general, MARPOL Annex V establishes a “distance from land” framework for permissible dumping of garbage with more strict prohibitions in special areas. These distances (3, 12, and 25 nautical miles) are based primarily on historical definitions of state, territorial seas, and TABLE 3.1 Summary of Garbage Discharge Restrictions for Vessels (modified from International Maritime Organization, 2006b) Garbage Type All Ships, Except Platforms Outside Special Areas Inside Special Areas Offshore Platformsa Plastics—includes synthetic ropes and fishing nets and plastic garbage bags Disposal prohibited Disposal prohibited Disposal prohibited Floating dunnage, lining, and packing materials >25 nautical miles offshore Disposal prohibited Disposal prohibited Cargo residues, paper, rags, glass, metal, bottles, ash and clinkers, crockery, and similar refuse >12 nautical miles offshore Disposal prohibited Disposal prohibited All other garbage, including paper, rags, and glass, comminuted or groundb >3 nautical miles offshore Disposal prohibited Disposal prohibited Food waste not comminuted or ground >12 nautical miles offshore >12 nautical miles offshore Disposal prohibited Food waste comminuted or groundb >3 nautical miles offshore >12 nautical miles offshorec >12 nautical miles offshore aOffshore platforms and associated ships include all fixed or floating platforms engaged in exploration or exploitation of sea-bed mineral resources and all ships within 500 m of such platforms. bComminuted or ground garbage must be able to pass through a screen with mesh size no larger than 25 mm. cFor the Wider Caribbean Region, disposal is allowed at greater than 3 nautical miles offshore.
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Tackling Marine Debris in the 21st Century international waters rather than ecosystem considerations. However, the more stringent restrictions within designated special areas reflect broader environmental concerns. A key to the implementation of MARPOL Annex V is the requirement that parties provide adequate garbage reception facilities for ships calling at their ports and terminals. Despite the permissibility of at-sea discharges in compliance with MARPOL Annex V, it is environmentally prudent for vessels to discharge their garbage ashore where it can be handled by more sophisticated (in developed nations) solid waste management systems, which often include recycling and waste treatment programs. MARPOL Annex V ships are required to maintain a garbage management plan, which sets out written procedures for the collection, storage, processing, and disposal of all types of garbage generated on the vessel, including operating guidelines for solid waste management equipment installed aboard the vessel. The garbage management plan and record book provide a written record of all garbage discharges and incineration at sea, including the date, time, position of the vessel, and description of the type of garbage discharged or incinerated. In addition, the garbage record book must include records of accidental and willful discharges of garbage that are not compliant with the provisions of MARPOL Annex V, along with a description of the circumstances and reasons for the discharge (e.g., emergency situations). An appendix to MARPOL Annex V contains a guideline and template for the garbage record book and details on the nature of entries to be recorded. As is the case with many other international conventions, IMO has agreed to a nonmandatory set of guidelines which may be used by nations in developing legislation for the implementation of MARPOL Annex V. Guidelines for the Implementation of Annex V of MARPOL (International Maritime Organization, 2006b) adds details to the provisions of MARPOL Annex V. This document also includes three appendices that address reporting of alleged inadequacies of port reception facilities, specifications for shipboard incinerators, and guidance for the development of garbage management plans. For example, the International Maritime Organization (2006b) details solid waste management options, such as waste minimization and onboard garbage processing, to assist in MARPOL Annex V compliance. Figure 3.1 shows the possible options for shipboard handling and disposal of garbage, from collection through disposal. As previously noted, MARPOL provides for designation of special areas that provide a higher level of protection than other areas; as indicated in Table 3.1, the only authorized discharge of garbage into a special area is food waste, except under emergency circumstances. Eight special areas have been designated by MARPOL Annex V: the Baltic Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, the Black Sea, the Red Sea, the North Sea, the Wider
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Tackling Marine Debris in the 21st Century FIGURE 3.1 Options for shipboard handling and disposal of garbage (modified from International Maritime Organization, 2006b).
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Tackling Marine Debris in the 21st Century Caribbean Region, the Antarctic, and the (Arabian) Gulfs area. However, only three of these special areas (the North Sea, the Baltic Sea, and the Antarctic region) have been in effect for several years. The Gulfs special area went into effect in August 2008, and the Mediterranean special area will go into effect in May 2009, leaving the Black Sea, the Red Sea, and the Wider Caribbean Region without the protections from marine debris deemed necessary by their initial special area designation. The single most significant obstacle to implementation of marine debris protection programs in these areas is the lack of certification of adequate reception facilities. There are no specific incentives or technical assistance to provide adequate shoreside waste disposal facilities, and, without having facilities in place, ships are not required to provide the added level of protection to these special areas. IMO could do more to assist parties bordering on special areas to meet their obligations. However, the general failure of the special area provisions to actually provide extra protection to these sensitive areas indicates that a new approach is needed. Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter, 1972, and the 1996 Protocol to the Convention The Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter (commonly referred to as the London Convention) was agreed to in 1972 and entered into force in 1975. The Convention focuses on preventing the dumping of wastes and other materials into the sea. The Protocol to the London Convention (commonly referred to as the London Protocol), agreed to in 1996 and entered into force on March 24, 2006, updates the Convention. It is anticipated that the Protocol will supplant the Convention in its entirety; the United States is currently in the process of ratifying the Protocol. Therefore, this summary will focus on the provisions and requirements established by the Protocol. Under the Protocol, dumping is defined as the following: any deliberate disposal into the sea of wastes or other matter from vessels, aircraft, platforms or other man-made structures at sea; any deliberate disposal into the sea of vessels, aircraft, platforms or other man-made structures at sea; any storage of wastes or other matter in the seabed and the subsoil thereof from vessels, aircraft, platforms or other man-made structures at sea; and any abandonment or toppling at site of platforms or other man-made structures at sea, for the sole purpose of deliberate disposal (1996 Protocol to the Convention, Article 1).
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Tackling Marine Debris in the 21st Century Perhaps equally important is that dumping does not include the disposal into the sea of wastes or other matter incidental to, or derived from the normal operations of vessels, aircraft, platforms, or other man-made structures at sea and their equipment, other than wastes or other matter transported … for the purpose of disposal of such matter or derived from the treatment of such wastes … (1996 Protocol to the Convention, Article 1). Put simply, discharges from vessels, aircraft, platforms, or other man-made structures at sea are not considered dumping if they are wastes generated during “normal operations”; however, they are considered by the Convention and the Protocol if the discharged materials were transported for the express purpose of disposal at sea. Other provisions of the Protocol prohibit the at-sea incineration of wastes covered under the Protocol and also prohibit the export of wastes to other countries for subsequent dumping or incineration at sea. A key difference between the Convention and the amended Protocol is that where the Convention allowed dumping unless specifically prohibited (a so-called “black list” approach), under the Protocol, at-sea dumping is prohibited unless the material has been specifically included on an approved list (a “reverse list” or “white list” approach). The Protocol also incorporates a precautionary approach to protecting the marine environment from dumping activities by requiring preventative action to be “taken when there is reason to believe that wastes or other matter introduced into the marine environment are likely to cause harm even when there is no conclusive evidence to prove a causal relation between inputs and their effects” (1996 Protocol to the Convention, Article 3). Annex I of the Protocol lists wastes that may be dumped pursuant to a permit. This white list includes dredged material; sewage sludge; fish waste; vessels and platforms or other man-made structures; inert, inorganic geological material; organic material of natural origin; and bulky items primarily comprising iron, steel, concrete, and other minimally harmful materials. Annex II of the Protocol establishes procedures for assessment of wastes that are being considered for dumping and includes provisions related to solid waste prevention, solid waste management, dump-site selection, assessment of potential impacts of solid waste management options, compliance and monitoring programs, and criteria for issuing permits and establishing appropriate permit conditions specific to a particular material. Parties to the Protocol must issue permits (when deemed acceptable) for materials that are loaded in their territory, regardless of country of registry, and to vessels or aircraft registered in their territory if such loading of covered materials occurs in the territory of a nation not a party to the Protocol.
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Tackling Marine Debris in the 21st Century In 2006, generic and waste-specific guidelines for assessment of wastes which may be dumped under permitted conditions were updated and published by IMO as Guidelines on the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter, 1972 (International Maritime Organization, 2006d). These guidelines provide specific criteria and evaluation processes for the assessment of the wastes that are listed in Annex I to the Protocol as permissible for dumping. GAPS IN THE INTERNATIONAL LEGAL AND REGULATORY FRAMEWORK The U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy (2004) notes that The dominant paradigm for governing the oceans [had been] the principle of freedom of the seas, based on the premise that the oceans were infinite and marine resources inexhaustible…. This view of the oceans began to change dramatically in the middle of the 20th century, when it became apparent that problems of overfishing and pollution threatened ocean assets that had previously been taken for granted. This statement reflects the growing awareness of fragility of the ocean ecosystems, as well as a cultural and policy shift away from the operational and vessel focus of the early days of IMO toward a more ecosystem-based view that emphasizes the minimization, and ideally elimination, of discharges of garbage and other debris into the marine environment. This shift is demonstrated most clearly with the move from a black list approach to regulating ocean dumping in the London Convention under which material could be dumped unless prohibited to a more precautionary white list approach in the London Protocol, which presumes that material should not be dumped at sea. Although the voluntary guidelines for implementing MARPOL Annex V (International Maritime Organization, 2006b) do include waste minimization and source reduction as significant objectives, the current mandatory framework is constructed on the premise that discharges are permissible as long as they are consistent with applicable conditions and are not expressly prohibited. Nearly 20 years after MARPOL Annex V was originally adopted, and with advances in ship operating procedures, available technologies, and solid waste management practices, it would be reasonable to consider many of the positive discharge mitigation philosophies embodied in the Guidelines (International Maritime Organization, 2006b) for inclusion into the mandatory legal requirements of MARPOL Annex V. Concepts of waste minimization, source reduction, and zero discharge are being successfully employed in many industries, including some segments of the maritime industry (see “Waste Minimization and Source Reduction”).
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Tackling Marine Debris in the 21st Century Fisheries Service, and EPA is provided by Ribic et al. (1997). Unfortunately, progress on various subelements of the marine debris problem does not constitute progress on the overall problem. As suggested by NRC (1995a), this vexing situation requires either more effective interagency cooperation or the creation or designation of a senior agency to fill this role. Until there is clear direction of a lead agency responsible for addressing marine debris as a priority issue or for addressing gaps in the current regime and assuming responsibility for interagency coordination, it will be very difficult to manage the marine debris problem comprehensively, effectively, and for long enough to be successful. Consideration needs to be given to ensuring long-term support of NOAA’s new Marine Debris Prevention and Removal Program and to clarifying the roles and responsibilities of NOAA and other agencies in IMDCC. Finding: Although the U.S. Congress has charged federal agencies with addressing the marine debris problem and has called for interagency coordination, leadership and governance remain diffuse and ineffective. Recommendation: IMDCC or Congress should clearly designate a lead agency to expand cooperative marine debris programs, including but not limited to land-based marine debris, DFG, shipborne waste, and abandoned vessels. IMDCC should develop a national strategy and national standards and priorities for dealing with all elements of marine debris. The strategic plan should include a clear identification of lead agencies, an implementation schedule, and performance benchmarks. Finding: There is no formal or functional coordination between RCRA (42 U.S.C. § 6901 et seq.), which regulates U.S. waste management and disposal, and the shipboard solid waste management plans or port and terminal waste management and COAs. Recommendation: Specific performance standards should be developed by USCG in collaboration with EPA for COAs; approval of port COAs should be conditioned on formal coordination between ports and solid waste management systems based on the RCRA waste management hierarchy and best management practices and guidance developed by EPA. Performance standards and COA and port discharge requirements should be based on an understanding of the capacity and capabilities of vessel types and waste streams, not just a hypothetical capability to handle wastes. The private sector and nongovernmental organizations should be included as partners in these efforts.
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Tackling Marine Debris in the 21st Century Integrated Solid Waste Management System As previously described, both nationally and internationally, there continue to be obstacles and disincentives to proper landside disposal of waste generated at sea (see “Port Reception Facilities” discussion earlier in this chapter). While there have been repeated calls for an integrated ship-to-shore solid waste management system (e.g., National Research Council, 1995a), this remains a significant challenge. Port facility review is further complicated by the varied (and in many cases very limited) roles that terminal operators and port authorities play at the vessel–port interface of the solid waste flow. In some cases, the ports are no more than silent partners where ship operators contract directly with waste management firms. Port authorities, who are not in the garbage business, are reluctant to take on a direct management role or take responsibility for ship-generated solid waste, and local solid waste management program operators have little incentive to incorporate ship-generated solid waste into their management programs. EPA needs to work actively with states, ports, terminal operators, and the private sector to increase collaboration between RCRA and CWA program offices and to identify approaches and support state efforts to incorporate solid waste streams from ships into the local and state solid waste management plans. While much of the focus of past marine debris efforts has been on ships and vessels under the jurisdiction of MARPOL Annex V and APPS, there is also a need to expand programs targeted at debris from other and smaller vessel types, as well as COAs or similar certification for smaller ports. USCG, EPA, and NOAA, as well as industry and nongovernmental organizations, have education and outreach programs directed toward recreational boaters and other vessels that could be expanded. Finding: Despite past recommendations and legislative mandates for collaboration, there continues to be a legal disconnect and jurisdictional discontinuity between solid waste management mandates afloat and ashore. Recommendation: EPA should work with state and local solid waste management programs and port and terminal operators to support a seamless connection and accountability for transfer of ship-generated garbage into the terrestrial waste management system. Waste Minimization and Source Reduction There has been substantial progress in ship-generated solid waste management practices since the adoption of MARPOL Annex V and its
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Tackling Marine Debris in the 21st Century implementing legislation. More effective implementation of vessel-based waste management can be improved by adoption of prevention and mitigation programs to reduce the sources of marine debris that are used in ordinary ship operations; changes in waste-handling practices and technology onboard vessels to include waste reduction and recycling and to incorporate zero-discharge goals where feasible and practicable; and expanded efforts to ensure the adequacy in fact, the implementation of cost-effective enhancement of port reception facilities, and the integration of shipboard and onshore solid waste management plans and systems. Industry and nongovernmental organizations have also taken an interest in the development of environmental management systems that can enhance waste management. For example, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has developed standards and guidelines for environmental management systems (ISO 14000). Application of ISO 14000 or similar environmental management systems to port operations, ship operations, and the ship–port interface could minimize waste and reduce marine debris (e.g., Urban Harbors Institute, 2000; Environmental Protection Agency, 2004). Segments of the cruise and ocean shipping sectors provide good examples of effective shipboard solid waste management programs. For example, members of the Cruise Lines International Association, Inc., have adopted mandatory environmental standards with a goal of zero at-sea discharge of solid wastes and overall waste minimization procedures (Cruise Lines International Association, Inc., 2006; Environmental Protection Agency, 2007a). The Cruise Lines International Association’s programs also include stringent monitoring and auditing practices and procedures. Similarly, the Matson Navigation Company has implemented a “zero solid waste discharge” program for its domestic containership route. Under this program, Matson has limited waste disposed at sea to food scraps; all other solid waste materials are retained for recycling or disposal at shoreside facilities. Zero-discharge initiatives made possible by the implementation of aggressive solid waste minimization programs have been implemented in shoreside operations for a number of years and, although some of the approaches and technologies they have developed may not be applicable to vessel operations, other approaches may be transferable. Finding: Zero discharge, source reduction, and waste minimization practices have been implemented in industrial settings ashore
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Tackling Marine Debris in the 21st Century for a number of years. Some vessels have successfully adopted zero or minimal discharge practices based on these successful shoreside models. Recommendation: USCG, in coordination with EPA, should promulgate best management practices that reflect the maximum practicable extent to which ships can operate without the need to dispose of garbage at sea. Development of these best management practices should be based on successful zero discharge, source reduction, and waste minimization practices, coupled with an understanding of the technical and financial abilities of different vessel types to retain different forms of waste. IMDCC should support the adoption of voluntary zero waste discharge standards and implementation of these best management practices to achieve that goal. Source reduction efforts will require public–private partnerships and the active involvement of manufacturers, industry groups, ports, and solid waste management agencies to be successful. Industry efforts to reduce overall amounts of packaging and to develop more environmentally friendly materials, including reduction of plastic trash and increased recycling of plastics, can potentially contribute to significant reductions in marine debris. One example is the American Chemistry Council marine litter campaign, which brings leaders from government, academia, industry, and nongovernmental organizations together to develop solutions. In 2007, the American Chemistry Council held a workshop, in conjunction with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, to discuss current research, sources of marine debris—both land- and ocean-based—and possible solutions. These efforts were started partly in response to rising public concern in California and other states about plastics pollution, and local and state efforts to limit and regulate plastic packaging. It will be increasingly important for all agencies, academic institutions, industries, nongovernmental organizations, and other stakeholders to support public and private partnerships to effectively tackle specific marine debris problems. Finding: There is a need to focus additional attention on potential waste before and after it reaches the ship. Shipboard-focused programs are unlikely to be fully successful without additional efforts to encourage source reduction on the front end and additional efforts to ensure reception facilities consistent with projected needs on the receiving end. Recommendation: EPA should take the lead in coordinating with IMDCC to work with academia, industry, and nongovernmental orga-
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Tackling Marine Debris in the 21st Century nizations to develop industry standards and guidelines for source reduction, reuse, and recycling for solid wastes that are utilized and generated during normal ship operations. Enforcement and Compliance In Chapter 2, the committee noted the limited amount of quantitative monitoring and research data available; however, these data suggest that measures taken thus far have not been successful in abating the problems. Similarly, there is difficulty in assessing the effectiveness of the regulatory framework at both national and international levels; information that is available indicates that the effectiveness could be improved. The committee received presentations from a number of experts which indicated that existing metrics of effectiveness are limited and, in most cases, nonexistent from a global perspective. Recordkeeping (e.g., number of vessels discharging garbage at ports, amounts of garbage discharged, number of reports of inadequacies, number of violations) could all be useful indicators of effectiveness. Yet, there is no comprehensive collection of this type of data domestically or internationally. Garbage management plans and logbooks provide only a vague idea of compliance and do not apply to vessels smaller than 40 feet. The number of port COAs or reports of inadequacies may be an indicator of the ability (or inability) of vessels to discharge their waste shoreside. For example, EPA’s “Draft Cruise Ship Discharge Assessment Report” examined, among other issues, the USCG port reception facility COA program (Environmental Protection Agency, 2007b). The report noted that USCG conducted over 14,000 facility inspections in 2006, up from approximately 3,500 inspections conducted during calendar year 2000. These included inspections of MARPOL Annex V port reception facilities for compliance and adequacy. USCG issued or responded to and investigated 2,986 complaints of reception facility deficiencies in 2006, up from 2,587 in calendar year 2000. The report also noted that, from 2002 to 2006, USCG has documented a 26 percent reduction in the number of pollution incidents reported at facilities. However, these and similar analyses are done a posteriori, without accounting for confounding issues that may contribute to changes in compliance and adequacy. They provide limited insight into the effectiveness of MARPOL Annex V. Enforcement data are also interesting but inadequate for assessing effectiveness because enforcement actions may be indicators of enforcement effort, or even happenstance, rather than accurate indicators of noncompliance rates. Therefore, it was difficult for the committee to assess the effectiveness of international and national measures to prevent and reduce marine debris based solely on regulatory information. Nevertheless, the
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Tackling Marine Debris in the 21st Century continued presence of ship-generated waste in the marine environment clearly indicates that challenges to MARPOL Annex V implementation have not been overcome. A meaningful understanding of the efficacy of these regulations is required by decision makers if improvements are to be achieved through enhanced and refined regulatory language, increased compliance, outreach, and other means. Within the United States, the demands on USCG for oversight and enforcement will increase as shipborne commerce expands. There is concern that USCG does not have sufficient resources and trained personnel to ensure a fully effective marine solid waste management regime. The need for trained resources will be more important if future efforts expand beyond review of operational compliance with garbage manifest regulations to consideration of qualitative standards for proper solid waste management, both on the vessel and at the port. The second edition of the Guidelines for the Implementation of Annex V of MARPOL explicitly addresses compliance issues: Recognizing that direct enforcement of Annex V regulations, particularly at sea, is difficult to accomplish, governments are encouraged to consider not only restrictive and punitive measures but also the removal of any disincentives, creation of positive incentives, and the development of voluntary measures within the regulated community when developing programs and domestic legislation to ensure compliance of Annex V (International Maritime Organization, 2006b). These guidelines on enforcement, compliance incentive systems, and voluntary measures provide opportunities for national and international data collection and analysis. The NRC (1995a) outlines the enormity of developing a national data system and devotes an entire section in the report on recordkeeping as a measure of MARPOL Annex V implementation. The findings and recommendations from Chapter 8, Measuring Progress in Implementation of MARPOL Annex V, remain valid and largely unexecuted. To turn IMO’s guidelines into mandatory practices would be a significant step forward. Finding: Forensic analysis of enforcement and compliance information is a necessary tool for evaluating the effectiveness of implementation of MARPOL Annex V; however, there is no comprehensive system in place for collecting and analyzing information for this purpose at either domestic or international levels. Recommendation: USCG, in coordination with IMDCC, should develop a program to analyze the effectiveness of domestic regulations to reduce marine debris. Where feasible, it should utilize
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Tackling Marine Debris in the 21st Century recordkeeping, enforcement, and other data that are already being collected and should investigate additional metrics that may be useful in measuring effectiveness. The U.S. delegation should recommend that IMO, in its ongoing review of MARPOL Annex V, incorporate this program into a global analysis of the effectiveness of MARPOL Annex V. Debris Mitigation and Removal It is readily apparent that there is no national strategy for mitigation and removal of marine debris. A national strategic plan would identify the aspects of marine debris that are most troublesome. For example, to what extent is society concerned with and impacted by visual disamenities associated with littered shores, health and safety issues related to hazardous wastes or pollution caused by debris, or the various ecosystem impacts or impacts on species at risk? A meaningful strategic plan cannot be developed without first prioritizing concerns, as well as identifying opportunities for taking action. Next, a comprehensive inventory of the current spatial distribution of littoral, benthic, and pelagic debris and its composition is needed, as well as knowledge of debris sources. Then, estimates of the costs of prevention, mitigation, and removal are needed. Armed with these types of information, society would be well positioned to steer limited resources to the most cost-effective projects—projects that address priorities at the least cost. There are numerous examples of this approach in business and in government. The EPA Superfund program is an example of how to prioritize sites and to methodically remediate them. A risk assessment approach (National Research Council, 1983, 1993, 1995b, 1996b, c, 2002, 2004; Pratt et al., 1995) could serve as an alternative template for prioritizing mitigation and remediation projects. In the case of marine debris, it is likely that society has a plurality of objectives that is not neatly subsumed into a strict hierarchy; in this case, there are a variety of multicriteria decision-analysis approaches that could be brought to bear to prioritize mitigation and remediation projects (e.g., Keeney and Raiffa, 1976; Saaty, 1990; National Research Council, 2004). There may be some sites that are so expensive to remediate (e.g., the deep ocean) that the funding necessary to launch a remediation project can never be advanced. There may be some sources of debris generation that are so ubiquitous, diffuse, or otherwise difficult to control in the marine environment that it is preferable to examine ways to limit their production or sale or alter production processes. While these “upstream” solutions are beyond the scope of the report, for the most problematic and pervasive types of garbage, they merit greater attention in the future by EPA and other federal and state agencies working with the private sector.
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Tackling Marine Debris in the 21st Century Selecting priorities for prevention, mitigation, or remediation is only a first step. It is also necessary to devise an incentive structure to support the achievement of objectives. There are four fundamental approaches to influencing behavior: (1) moral suasion or social pressure; (2) standards or mandated technological solutions; (3) fines, taxes, or subsidies; and (4) definition and allocation of entitlements and obligations within a market structure. The design of an incentive structure to support the prevention of continued deposition of debris into the marine environment and the mitigation or removal of marine debris that is present may use any combination of these incentive systems. Public awareness campaigns can shame people into being less inclined to drop their trash on the beach or overboard. Clean Marina and Clean Harbor programs are examples of moral suasion campaigns. Fines or subsidies can lead people to desist from undesired behaviors or to engage in desired behaviors. However, to be effective there has to be a reasonably high probability of the adverse behavior being detected so that the expected value of the fine is meaningfully large. Taxes change effective prices and lead people to change their behavior to minimize their tax burden and can be an effective way of influencing choices of production and consumption technologies and behaviors. For example, a tax on synthetic fishing gear would encourage a more conservative use of synthetic gear and, if high enough, might lead to reconsideration of biodegradable fibers. Defined standards or technologies have been used by EPA for emissions control. In general, defining required performance standards and leaving people free to determine how to achieve those standards results in higher compliance and lower costs of compliance. Definition and allocation of entitlements and obligations within a market structure work well for activities that are easily observed by other participants, even if they are not easily observed by enforcement agencies. However, the deposition of marine debris is not easily observed. If it were, beaches would not fill with litter and vessels would not complete transoceanic voyages without needing to dispose of at least some plastic debris in their port of call. When there are multiple objectives to attain, as is likely the case for a national marine debris strategic plan, it is likely that a combination of incentive structures will be needed. Finding: Current marine debris mitigation efforts are episodic and crisis driven. There is a need for a reliable, dedicated funding stream to support marine debris mitigation efforts and a national strategy and framework for identifying priorities for removal of marine debris. Recommendation: IMDCC should work with nongovernmental organizations and the private sector to identify and establish a national
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Tackling Marine Debris in the 21st Century strategic plan for addressing the marine debris problem and to identify funding mechanisms and reliable funding streams to support marine debris mitigation activities. CONCLUSION The following findings and recommendations express overarching concepts discussed in the previous findings and recommendations in Chapter 3. Overarching Finding: Despite measures to prevent and reduce marine debris, evidence shows that the problem continues and will likely get worse. This indicates that current measures for preventing and reducing marine debris are inadequate. At both the international and the domestic levels, marine debris responsibilities and resources have been spread across organizations and management regimes, slowing progress on the problem. Improvements will require changes to the regulatory regime as well as nonregulatory incentives. At both the international and the national levels, there needs to be better leadership, coordination, and integration of mandates and resources. Overarching Recommendation: The United States and the international maritime community should adopt a goal of zero discharge of waste into the marine environment. The United States should take the lead in the international arena in this effort and in coordinating regional management of marine debris with other coastal states. IMDCC should develop a strategic plan for domestic marine debris management. Performance measures should be developed by the United States and the international maritime community that allow for assessment of the effectiveness of current and future marine debris prevention and reduction measures. Overarching Finding: The lack of understanding of vessel waste streams and the inadequacy of port reception facilities to accept and properly manage vessel waste is a serious impediment to the prevention and reduction of marine debris, including DFG. Ships continue to face shoreside disposal challenges at some berths in countries that have formally communicated the availability of adequate reception facilities. Overarching Recommendation: To achieve the goal of zero discharge, ships need to be able to discharge their waste at ports and should
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Tackling Marine Debris in the 21st Century have incentives (or at least they should not face disincentives) to do so. Domestically, USCG should establish minimum qualitative and quantitative standards for port adequacy, provide technical assistance for ports to achieve standards, encourage ports to provide incentives to vessel operators for discharging their waste ashore, and ensure that there are adequate reception facilities and alternative disposal options (see Appendix E) for waste fishing gear. Internationally, the U.S. delegation to IMO should exert its leadership in the ongoing MARPOL Annex V review process to ensure that similar amendments are incorporated into Annex V.
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