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Clean Ships Clean Ports Clean Oceans: Controlling Garbage and Plastic Wastes at Sea 1 Dimensions of the Challenge and U.S. Progress Human use of the oceans is extensive and varied, and one of the by-products is shipborne garbage. For centuries, as most land-generated waste was discarded in open dumps, vessel-generated garbage was discharged overboard. To do otherwise was to transport unnecessary weight and to invite the ever-present vermin to prosper. When population density was low and waste consisted primarily of food items and inert inorganic materials (i.e., metal, glass, or china), the land and sea environments were used freely as convenient dumps without apparent damage. Indeed, until recent years it Was assumed that discharging garbage into the marine environment was not harmful, because the oceans were so vast that their capacity to absorb waste was infinite. Discarding waste in the ocean was seen as complementary to disposal on land (Goldberg, 1976), and many coastal communities legally barged garbage to sea for disposal. Most food wastes and garbage thrown overboard disappeared without a trace, but mariners long have observed that such debris sometimes floats on the surface of the sea or washes up on beaches. Some of these fragments are deposited on the shoreline and near-coastal zone by wind and wave action. The long-held assumption that such debris was benign began to change in the 1970s, as scientists documented the accumulation of garbage in the sea and the resulting harm to the marine environment. Part of the problem was the changing composition of garbage, which increasingly contained durable, synthetic materials such as plastic packaging, cargo nets, packing straps, and synthetic-fibre fishing lines and nets (Recht, 1988; Alig et al., 1990). Even in the most remote locations, observers tallied accumulations of debris that could have come only from maritime sources (Amos, 1993; Ryan and Moloney, 1993). Such evidence, along with the resulting
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Clean Ships Clean Ports Clean Oceans: Controlling Garbage and Plastic Wastes at Sea Scenes like this drew public attention to the marine debris problem and stimulated efforts to control disposal of vessel garbage. Credit: John Miller, National Park Service. harm to wildlife (Marine Mammal Commission, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993) as well as beach closings, eventually provided the basis for international and U.S. action to restrict overboard disposal of garbage. Apart from the environmental harm attributed to garbage discarded from vessels, numerous accounts have reported direct damage to human activities (O'Hara and Debenham, 1989; O'Hara and Younger, 1990; Debenham and Younger, 1991; Younger and Hodge, 1992; Hodge and Glen, 1993) and described the loss of the aesthetic and recreational value of beaches accumulating substantial amounts of debris (Roehl and Ditton, 1993). As a result, oceanfront
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Clean Ships Clean Ports Clean Oceans: Controlling Garbage and Plastic Wastes at Sea communities and federal and state agencies throughout the United States now spend public monies or rely on volunteers to clean debris from beaches on a regular basis. The direct and indirect costs of marine debris—including the costs of beach cleanups, lost tourism, maintenance and repairs to damaged vessels, lost fishing time, and ''ghost fishing'' by lost nets and traps—cannot be appraised without an assessment of the quantities and types of marine debris, but the total could be in the billions of dollars.1 Thus, from many perspectives, improperly discarded vessel garbage and other types of marine debris are a burden on society. INTERNATIONAL AND U.S. MANDATES A linchpin of early international efforts to control disposal of vessel garbage was the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (1973) and its 1978 Protocol, known collectively as MARPOL 73/78. The convention was developed under the auspices of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), a specialized, multilateral United Nations agency that serves as the principal global forum for negotiating treaties and convening diplomatic conferences related to maritime safety and pollution control. MARPOL is administered primarily by IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), to which the United States regularly sends participants. As of mid-1994, MARPOL had been signed by 83 nations, including the United States; the first part of the convention, Annex I, entered into force in 1983.2 MARPOL currently includes five annexes, each addressing the control of a different type of pollutant: Annex I (oil), Annex II (noxious liquid substances), Annex HI (packaged goods), Annex IV (sewage), and Annex V (garbage). Still under development is Annex VI (air pollution). All parties to MARPOL must adhere to Annex I and Annex II but have the option of ratifying the other annexes; once a nation ratifies an additional annex, compliance with it becomes mandatory. This report focuses solely on Annex V, which first entered into force on December 31, 1988 and by the end of 1993 had been ratified by 65 nations. Even though ratification of Annex V is optional, MARPOL signatories have 1 The costs of routine beach cleanup alone may justify the effort to reduce marine debris (although not necessarily the effort to manage vessel garbage, which is only one source of beach debris). An informal survey conducted in 1993 for the Center for Marine Conservation revealed annual costs for beach cleanup ranging from $24,240 per mile in Virginia Beach to $119,530 per mile in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The costs to coastal communities can escalate further when debris problems capture public attention. According to one study, medical waste appearing on beaches during the summers of 1987 and 1988 caused an estimated $1 billion in tourism losses in New Jersey (R.L. Associates, 1988). 2 MARPOL took effect once signed by 15 nations representing more than 50 percent of the world fleet.
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Clean Ships Clean Ports Clean Oceans: Controlling Garbage and Plastic Wastes at Sea moved forward in an effort to protect their shores and coastal waters from the harmful effects of vessel garbage and other types of marine debris. Annex V addresses solid waste generated during normal vessel operations at sea, on fixed and floating platforms, and in port, as well as the solid waste generated by economic activities, such as fishing and oil and gas production, carried out on these vessels and structures. (The full annex and the IMO implementation guidelines are reproduced in Appendix B.) The key components of solid waste are domestic garbage, including galley waste and food packaging; operational wastes, such as old fishing gear, fish processing materials, and items generated through vessel maintenance; and cargo-related garbage, such as packaging materials and dunnage.3 The Annex V control strategy emphasizes performance rather than specific techniques; discharges are restricted by location and material but the regulations do not specify how compliance should be accomplished. Figure 1-1 summarizes the at-sea garbage discharge restrictions. The performance standards vary depending on how harmful particular materials are believed to be and how long they persist in the marine environment. The most notable standard is for plastics: No plastic may be discarded overboard, except in rare cases such as emergencies. This means all plastic must be stored on board for disposal in port reception facilities; incineration is also an option, with disposal of the resulting ash in an appropriate shore facility. (On vessels entering U.S. ports from foreign shores, domestic regulations require that "food-contaminated" plastics be stored separately, because the organic residues could harbor disease and pests.) In practice, the plastics prohibition is key to the implementation of Annex V worldwide; until all mariners can comply with this standard, implementation is incomplete. In addition, Annex V provides for the designation of special areas in the seas where no garbage may be discharged except, under certain conditions, food waste.4 Thus, vessels that transit special areas must have zero-discharge capability. Proper garbage handling practices need to be devised and followed because plastics are highly functional materials and will continue to be available. The basic approaches employed by fleets are waste reduction, which includes reducing amounts of plastics and packaging brought on board; installation of on- 3 Dunnage is timber, pallets, and other packing material used to protect cargo from damage during transport. 4 The additional protection given to special areas is as follows: No discharges are allowed of plastics, dunnage, lining and packing materials, or other garbage, including paper, rags, glass, metal, bottles, and crockery. Only food wastes may be discharged, as far as practicable from shore but in no case less than 12 nautical miles from the nearest land (except in the Wider Caribbean special area, where comminuted [i.e., ground] food waste may be discharged outside 3 nautical miles from shore). Mixtures of garbage and/or other discharges must be treated in accordance with the most stringent requirements applicable to any part of the mixture.
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Clean Ships Clean Ports Clean Oceans: Controlling Garbage and Plastic Wastes at Sea FIGURE 1-1 Summary of the at-sea garbage discharge restrictions. Source: Center for Marine Conservation.
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Clean Ships Clean Ports Clean Oceans: Controlling Garbage and Plastic Wastes at Sea board garbage treatment technologies, such as compactors, pulpers, and incinerators; and return of materials to shore for disposal or recycling. Implementation of MARPOL among signatories has been monitored poorly (U.S. General Accounting Office, 1992) and the monitoring methods now available seem ineffective.5 Still, certain problems are evident. Most notably, enforcement has been hampered by ambiguities concerning the fights of port states to pursue violations by foreign-flag vessels (a concept known as port state enforcement).6 Port states have extensive powers to either impose their own rules or enforce international conventions. The United States recently changed its MARPOL enforcement policy to expand its exercise of port state enforcement authorities with respect to violations by foreign-flag vessels within the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), a 200-nautical-mile-wide band around the coastline. But the United States may not be exercising fully its fights to control pollution from vessels. Port state authority to enforce international rules and standards outside the EEZ is established by the Third United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS III), which was adopted in 1982 and entered into force in late 1994. (The implications of UNCLOS III, including effects on port state authorities, are addressed in more detail in Appendix C. Enforcement of Annex V in general is discussed in Chapter 7.) The United States became the 21st signatory to Annex V in 1987, and the regulations took effect a year later. As is routine with international conventions, each signatory nation is responsible for enacting domestic laws to implement the convention and effectively pledges to comply with the Annex V-related laws of other nations. As a world leader, the United States is expected not only to comply with Annex V, but also to lead efforts to develop and implement standards worldwide. Accordingly, numerous steps have been taken to implement Annex V (see 5 The General Accounting Office (GAO) found, for example, that only 13 of (at that time) 57 parties to MARPOL had satisfied treaty obligations to provide IMO with information on MARPOL Annex I violations and penalties imposed. (Additional results of the GAO study are summarized in Chapter 7.) 6 A port state is a nation in which foreign-flag vessels make port calls. Under the Third United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS III), port state enforcement refers to the right of a state, when a foreign vessel is voluntarily in its ports or at an offshore terminal, to undertake investigations and, if warranted, institute proceedings with respect to violations of applicable international rules and standards. Enforcement, for purposes of this report, includes any actions taken to obtain some remedy for violations of Annex V. Such actions may include pursuit of a civil or criminal case against an alleged violator, referral of a case involving a foreign-flag vessel to the appropriate flag state, and record keeping as a means of keeping track of repeat violators. The flag state is the nation where a vessel is registered; flag states have primary responsibility for ensuring that penalties for MARPOL violations are assessed. The United States may act as either a port state or a flag state, depending on the facts of a situation, including whether the vessel in question is registered in the United States. See Appendix C for a more complete explanation of the rights and responsibilities of port states and flag states under UNCLOS III.
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Clean Ships Clean Ports Clean Oceans: Controlling Garbage and Plastic Wastes at Sea TABLE 1-1 Fleets Examined Recreational boats Commercial fisheries Cargo ships Passenger day boats and ferries Small public vessels Offshore platforms/rigs/supply vessels U.S. Navy surface combatant vessels Passenger cruise ships Research vessels Appendix D). But U.S. implementation of Annex V has been complicated and frustrated by four major factors in addition to those challenging other signatories. First, unlike a domestic environmental law, Annex V was not crafted to fit neatly into the federal governance structure. When domestic legislation is drafted, its substance typically reflects knowledge of which agencies can bring resources and authority to the problem at hand. In sharp contrast, an international agreement must be accepted in its generic, all-purpose form, leaving the signatory nation to devise a manageable implementation program. The challenge of transforming a sweeping international mandate into a national regime was particularly formidable in the case of Annex V, because the requirements affect a community so broad as to exceed the boundaries of the conventional U.S. regulatory regime. IMO rules typically affect only commercial mariners, who are regulated by the Coast Guard; Annex V rules extend to most seafarers, meaning that, in the United States, numerous federal agencies have some role in implementing the convention across a number of fleets. Nine fleets are addressed in this report (see Table 1:1).7 The second complicating factor has been the expansion of the international mandate by the U.S. implementing law, the Marine Plastics Pollution Research and Control Act (MPPRCA) of 1987 (P.L. 100-220). Warships are exempt from MARPOL requirements. But the MPPRCA applies to all vessels on virtually all U.S. waters8 and to all U.S.-flag vessels anywhere in the world, specifically imposing Annex V standards on the Navy fleet, which was recognized as a major producer of garbage. The MPPRCA did incorporate a grace period for Navy compliance, to allow for an orderly shift in practices and equipment. The Navy 7 Seven of the nine fleets are obvious choices. In addition to those seven, the committee considered offshore oil and gas drilling platforms, rigs, and supply vessels to be a fleet. The other choice that requires some explanation is "small public vessels," which includes the Coast Guard, naval auxiliaries, and other small government vessels. These were grouped together because they have comparable mission and operating constraints. Additional details about all the fleets may be found in Chapters 2 and 4. 8 The exception is waters under the exclusive jurisdiction of a state.
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Clean Ships Clean Ports Clean Oceans: Controlling Garbage and Plastic Wastes at Sea has pursued both managerial and technical initiatives and can comply with basic requirements for discharge of non-plastic garbage. The challenge is so great that the grace period has been extended to 1998 for the plastics ban and the year 2000 for special area requirements. The third factor is the U.S. requirement for the quarantine inspection and disposal of food-contaminated garbage from any vessel or aircraft arriving from a foreign port.9 Quarantine serves an important public health purpose, and these requirements, enforced by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), have been in place since the mid-1950s. Unfortunately, the APHIS requirements, while independent of Annex V, may have hindered its implementation by creating confusion and added burdens for vessel and port operators. These problems exist in part because the APHIS regime has not been integrated fully with either the Annex V implementation program or the land-based waste management system. Finally, implementation of Annex V also has been delayed by ambiguous requirements for port reception facilities, which are critical to proper management of vessel garbage. Annex V requires only that such facilities be "adequate," and U.S. port operators are on their own in determining precisely what that means.10 The United States does not have a national port authority as most other nations do and, furthermore, it has not integrated management of vessel garbage with the disposal system for land-generated waste. Port reception facilities are regulated, but with limited effectiveness. A Certificate of Adequacy (COA) verifying compliance with MARPOL must be obtained by ports or terminals serving ocean-going vessels of 400 gross tons or more carrying oil or noxious liquid substances, or fishing vessels landing more than 500,000 pounds of commercial catch per calendar year. The Coast Guard has legal authority to close a port that fails to comply. Reception facilities (but not COAs) also are required at other U.S. ports and terminals, including commercial fishing piers, shore bases for the offshore oil and gas industry, and marinas capable of providing wharfage or other services for 10 or more recreational boats. However, neither the COA program nor the non-COA requirements have resulted in any significant improvement in port side garbage management facilities or operations because there are no technical standards for judging what is adequate. Furthermore, the many small, unattended piers and launch ramps throughout the United States are not required to have reception facilities. 9 In theory, APHIS requirements apply to all vessels that have visited a foreign port before arriving in the United States; in practice, the standards are enforced only for cargo ships and passenger cruise ships. 10 General guidance is provided (see Code of Federal Regulations. Title 33, Section 158) but them are no technical standards. Proposed MPPRCA amendments would require Coast Guard inspections of port reception facilities, but, even if these requirements were adopted, the absence of technical standards would allow for wide variations in "adequacy." (Henceforth, references to the Code will be abbreviated using the format 33 C.F.R. §158).
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Clean Ships Clean Ports Clean Oceans: Controlling Garbage and Plastic Wastes at Sea Missions of U.S. Government Agencies Implementation of Annex V requires the combined resources and skills of an eclectic mix of federal agencies, going well beyond the roles assigned in the MPPRCA. The MPPRCA gives the Secretary of Transportation, through the Coast Guard, sole authority to enforce Annex V. The Coast Guard is to consult with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in establishing standards for shipboard equipment. The Coast Guard and EPA are to consult with the Department of Commerce (specifically the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [NOAA]) in reporting on the effects of marine debris. In addition, to enforce the law against foreign-flag vessels, the Coast Guard is to cooperate with the Department of State's Office of Ocean Affairs. Since the MPPRCA was enacted, a number of other agencies also have been recognized as playing important roles, including the Minerals Management Service, which regulates the offshore oil and gas industry; the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which through APHIS is responsible for ensuring quarantine of certain types of garbage; the Maritime Administration, which promotes the U.S. maritime industry and has a technology assessment program that could help meet compliance needs; the National Park Service, which conducts beach debris monitoring programs at national seashores; and the Marine Mammal Commission, which reports annually to the Congress on marine mammal protection issues. Even with multiple federal agencies striving to accomplish Annex V objectives within their domains of expertise, they have not been able to reach and influence all segments of the highly diverse and dispersed maritime community. Not only are the fleets affected by Annex V highly varied in terms of their practices and accessibility, but also, even within a given fleet, operators may have no common topics to discuss and may not meet regularly on a national or regional level. As a result, a number of years after the ratification of Annex V, it is clear that a comprehensive strategy for integrating Annex V into the national environmental protection regime remains elusive. PROGRESS IN U.S. IMPLEMENTATION OF ANNEX V More than seven years have passed since the United States ratified Annex V and enacted the MPPRCA, yet some plastics continue to be discharged overboard. The Navy has obtained permission to do so temporarily, but federal officials suspect that other fleets routinely violate the law. While a minority of vessels apparently off-load garbage at U.S. port reception facilities, Coast Guard boarding officers often "find no trace of garbage, separated plastics, or incinerated ash on ships that doubtlessly generate large quantities of garbage" (Federal
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Clean Ships Clean Ports Clean Oceans: Controlling Garbage and Plastic Wastes at Sea Register, Vol. 59, p. 18,700 [1994111). Thus, it is clear that the United States has yet to implement Annex V fully. Full compliance will be difficult to attain, and measuring progress will be a major challenge. The Coast Guard has reported many difficulties with Annex V compliance and MPPRCA enforcement. External constraints include the vastness of the oceans, which makes comprehensive federal surveillance impossible; the difficulty of obtaining first-hand accounts from witnesses; the lack of follow-up prosecution of foreign-flag vessels by flag states; and economic disincentives, in that large penalties for violations are offset by the perceived low risk of detection (Eastern Research Group, 1992). Internal limitations include the low priority assigned to the problem of shipborne wastes; the complexity of administrative procedures for proceeding against violators; and shortcomings of Coast Guard training with regard to international shipping (Eastern Research Group, 1992). The EPA and NOAA have had to contend with similar internal constraints. No additional personnel or funding was allocated initially for either Coast Guard or EPA implementation efforts, although NOAA has received limited funding for its Marine Entanglement Research Program (MERP). The Coast Guard has suggested that Annex V compliance depends on factors other than government efforts, specifically the levels of environmental consciousness in the maritime industry and among the general public (Eastern Research Group, 1992). In spite of these challenges, some steps have been taken to implement Annex V, and there is reason for optimism about their effectiveness, due principally to the exemplary efforts of a network of dedicated advocates. Some of these individuals are federal employees or contractors, while others are private citizens acting on behalf of companies, advocacy groups, or trade associations. Whether motivated by a desire to halt the environmental damage caused by marine debris or by pressure for compliance with the law, many of these isolated initiatives have demonstrated, on a limited scale, that Annex V can succeed. Perhaps as a result of the combined efforts, compliance with Annex V may be increasing, as can be inferred from national statistics for APHIS garbage off-loading for the fiscal years 1988 through 1991. The annual number of vessels off-loading garbage increased steadily and significantly during that time period, from 1,937 to 12,518. These data have been interpreted by a USDA official as reflecting increasing levels of compliance with Annex V (Ronald B. Caffey, personal communication to Marine Board staff, August 18, 1992). A similar trend was reported by port authorities in Corpus Christi, Texas, who treated steadily increasing volumes of APHIS waste at their boiler facility between 1989 and 1993.12 11 Henceforth, references to the Federal Register will be abbreviated using the format 59 Fed. Reg. 18,700 (1994). 12 The boiler facility treated 30.6 cubic meters (m3) (40 cubic yards) (yd3) of APHIS waste in 1989, 79.5 m3 (104 yd3) in 1990, 125.4 m3 (164 yd3) in 1991, 256.9 m3 (336 yd3) in 1992, and 259.9 m3 (336 yd3) in 1993 (through August 5 only), port officials reported to the committee. The boiler was shut down in early 1994.
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Clean Ships Clean Ports Clean Oceans: Controlling Garbage and Plastic Wastes at Sea Data from beach cleanups also seem to reflect a slight improvement, although this evidence is soft because the cleanups were not designed to monitor Annex V compliance. Plastic debris is an indicator of Annex V compliance because virtually all overboard discharges of this material are prohibited. Surveys by the Center for Marine Conservation (CMC) found that, in 1989, 60.5 percent of the items found on U.S. coasts were plastic (O'Hara and Younger, 1990); in 1993, the percentage was slightly lower at 53.2 (the rates for individual states from 38.7 percent to 79.7 percent) (Bierce and O'Hara, 1994). On the other hand, a federal beach monitoring project has not detected any improvement. This 5-year beach monitoring pilot program by the National Park Service, which focused on different beaches and employed a different methodology than did CMC, indicated that plastics consistently make up about 90 percent of debris items (Cole et al., 1992). It is important to recognize that, while beach litter may convince the public that marine debris is a problem, the condition of beaches does not necessarily reflect garbage disposal practices on vessels. Vessels are only part of the marine debris problem. A significant amount of debris originates from land-based sources, including beach goers, wastewater treatment plants, rivers, and combined sewer overflows and storm drains. Case Histories Because it is difficult to detect overall trends and progress in controlling vessel garbage, case histories may provide the best portrait of U.S. experiences with Annex V implementation. The selected examples presented here serve not only to illustrate the range and results of past and ongoing efforts, but also to suggest possible model elements of an effective national implementation strategy. U.S. Navy Compliance The Navy operates the largest U.S.-flag fleet. The Navy estimates that its ships discharged more than 2,000 metric tons (MT) (4.5 million pounds [lbs.]) of plastic into the oceans each year until 1988. Through leadership and aggressive use of its command organization as well as the willingness of individual crew members, the Navy has made a comprehensive effort to comply with the MPPRCA on its surface combatant fleet. Among its activities, the Navy has established dialogue with outside critics and overseers in the design of its compliance plan, mounted a research and development (R&D) effort to design on-board garbage treatment technology, and instituted a number of progressive policies. Significant progress has been made, but critics note that, even after spending tens of millions of dollars, the Navy still lacks a plan for achieving full compliance (U.S. General Accounting Office, 1994a, 1994b).
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Clean Ships Clean Ports Clean Oceans: Controlling Garbage and Plastic Wastes at Sea To guide the compliance effort, an external advisory committee was created so that Annex V implementation ideas could be discussed in a non-confrontational setting. Participants included senior congressional staff and representatives of environmental groups. The Keystone Center, a dispute resolution organization, was hired to run the committee independent of the Navy. Committee discussions assisted in the initial design of a compliance program that took into account both congressional and environmental concerns, while simultaneously compelling Navy personnel to articulate the challenges involved. The Navy heeded the ad hoc committee's advice and honored the agreements made. Among other things, the decision to reject the use of shipboard incinerators as a permanent solution for disposing of plastics was a result of a consensus-based decision by the committee to avoid combustion technologies that might pollute the air (Ad Hoc Advisory Committee on Plastics, 1988). This decision may warrant reconsideration, however, because it was not based on scientific or engineering investigations and no waste management officials were involved. Moreover, political and technical considerations have changed in the past few years (see Chapters 4 and 5). Shipboard equipment developed by the Navy beginning in 1979 is expected to enable the fleet to eliminate entirely the discharge of plastics at sea. Heavy-duty solid waste pulpers, small pulpers, metal and glass shredders, and an entirely new device, the plastic waste processor, have been developed. The current focus of the R&D program is the formal testing and evaluation of the plastics processor, so that fleetwide installation can begin in 1995. Testing and evaluation of the pulpers and shredders are in the final stages, but the Navy has no plans to install this equipment because it would not enable compliance with special area mandates. (This issue is discussed further in Chapter 4.) In sum, considerable attention has been devoted to development of on-board technology to support Annex V compliance, although none of the garbage treatment equipment has been installed permanently on ships to date, and the Navy continues to discharge some plastics overboard. To limit plastics discharges until shipboard equipment can be installed, the Navy invoked several operational changes. Crews now separate out plastic garbage at the source and keep it on board for as long as vessel sanitation and crew habitability can tolerate it. Field trials beginning in 1988 demonstrated that uncompacted, food-contaminated plastic could sit in an unrefrigerated storage locker for a maximum of three days before the stench became intolerable. Clean, uncompacted plastic materials could be collected and retained on board so long as there was storage space anywhere on the ship—about 20 days. When the "3-day/20-day" rule was adopted, dramatic amounts of material piled up on Navy ships, destined for shoreside reception facilities. This simple procedural shift is believed to have reduced overboard discharges of plastic by 70 percent (Chitty, 1989), to 612.4 MT (1.35 million lbs.) per year. Although the 3/20 rule initially
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Clean Ships Clean Ports Clean Oceans: Controlling Garbage and Plastic Wastes at Sea was only a recommendation, it is now mandatory,13 and the Navy is obligated to abide by it until a full suite of shipboard equipment is installed and full fleet compliance is attained. The naval supply organization also has made a comprehensive effort to support MARPOL compliance. The Plastics Reduction in the Marine Environment (PRIME) program objective is to eliminate plastic packaging and reduce use of disposable packaging in all items in the military supply network. By eliminating unnecessary plastics, using alternative materials, and packing in bulk, an estimated 215.5 MT (475,000 lbs.) of plastic packaging has been eliminated through changes in specifications for more than 350,000 items (Koss, 1994). In addition, non-plastic packaging will be specified in some new contracts (Koss, 1994). Efforts continue to reduce plastic packaging in items used by the Navy but managed by other military services. The long-term focus is on development of alternative materials to replace plastics in some items. The Navy also adopted an economic incentive suggested in the IMO guidelines for Annex V implementation, by giving to ship crews any income generated from the recycling of garbage materials for their scrap or deposit value. The money is used to purchase amenities, thereby rewarding the crews for their waste reduction efforts. The Navy also has experimented with novel uses for recycled materials. Some 10.4 MT (23,000 lbs.) of plastic wastes from a single ship were transformed into ''lumber'' for park benches, picnic tables, and other items for use at Navy bases (Middleton et al., 1991). Such efforts can help create new markets and thereby improve the prospects for recycling as a waste management option. State Initiatives A number of states have launched initiatives to reduce marine debris and implement Annex V. The effort in Texas has been particularly aggressive and multi-faceted. Even before the federal government ratified Annex V, Texas officials identified marine debris as a serious problem along the states abutting the Gulf of Mexico coast. After the state land commissioner participated in the CMC's first beach cleanup in 1986, the Texas General Land Office took a leadership position in encouraging the U.S. government to ratify Annex V. The office also has worked diligently to implement the agreement, in concert with neighboring state governments along the Gulf of Mexico. The Texas land commissioner has motivated both the public and Gulf-based industries to understand that Annex V compliance is a serious obligation. The commissioner told the U.S. Congress that state offshore oil inspectors could be of 13 Under the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1993 (P.L. 102-484), ship personnel must store food-contaminated plastic on board for the last three days before entering port, while clean plastic debris must be stored for the last 20 days.
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Clean Ships Clean Ports Clean Oceans: Controlling Garbage and Plastic Wastes at Sea assistance to the federal enforcement program, and that these inspectors pursued violators under existing state laws (Mauro, 1993). In addition, Texas has sponsored the two most extensive surveys of port reception facilities (Hollin and Liffman, 1991, 1993) and is working to further the preparations needed to bring special area status into force for the Wider Caribbean. Initiatives on the Pacific Coast have stressed education. The Marine Plastic Debris Action Plan for Washington State (Marine Plastic Debris Task Force, 1988; Rose, 1990) identified the types of vessels most common in nearby waters and focused on opportunities for intervening to halt illegal overboard discharges. In addition, noting that prevailing currents would concentrate debris off the Washington coast, the plan focused on education of marine communities, including recreational boaters. Marinas and boaters were targeted in a dedicated program, an unusual undertaking at the time. The California Marine Debris Action Plan (Kauffman et al., 1990) is the result of a large volunteer effort to establish a continuing program to reduce marine debris. Although federal and state governments participated, responsibility for many of the follow-up activities remains with private and citizen organizations. The plan relies heavily on education to change the habits of marine users. Pilot Programs by Community and Environmental Groups Abundant evidence demonstrates the benefits of citizen participation and other private involvement in implementation of Annex V. Community and environmental groups have been highly successful in focusing public attention on marine debris, articulating prevention methods, and convincing citizens to assume responsibility for addressing the problem. Numerous ideas have been tested by these groups, and some of their insights and perspectives have been integrated into government programs. One popular concept is organized beach cleanups, which not only have cleared unsightly debris, but also have helped document the scope of the problem. The annual CMC beach cleanup began as a project in one state funded by a private contribution. The event quickly grew to international proportions, gaining the support of NOAA, EPA, and the Navy and bringing hundreds of thousands of volunteers to beaches on a regular basis. Considerable experience also has been acquired in port and marina settings, albeit often in local or short-term projects that ended when initial funding was exhausted. The Coastal Resources Center produced guidelines on how to start a marina recycling program (Kauffman, 1992) and carried out a recycling project at Half Moon Bay, California, that is being duplicated in San Francisco. Such grassroots efforts are an essential means of reaching recreational boaters. A fishermen's initiative in Oregon, described by Recht (1988), illustrates the effectiveness of integrating vessel and shore garbage disposal. Fishermen using the Port of Newport began a net recycling program in the late 1980s. Initially
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Clean Ships Clean Ports Clean Oceans: Controlling Garbage and Plastic Wastes at Sea funded by a grant from MERP, the program included an educational effort targeting fishermen and an agreement with the city to place large dumpsters and storage areas on city-owned piers. Fishermen were encouraged to return to port their netting and cordage formerly discarded at sea; in some cases, they also retrieved netting observed floating at sea. Once on shore, the plastic nets were sorted by type, baled, and transported to recycling centers in Seattle. Although the Newport program has been discontinued, fishermen using various ports in Washington state and Alaska continue to recycle nylon gill-net webbing through a recycling infrastructure established and managed by the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (F.I.S.H. Habitat Education Program, 1994). Special Situations: The Gulf of Mexico The Gulf of Mexico is part of the Wider Caribbean special area. Special areas are an important consideration in the development of a U.S. Annex V implementation strategy, for two reasons. First, special areas fall into multiple national jurisdictions, meaning that all nations bordering an area must cooperate to some degree, first to obtain the designation and then to implement and enforce Annex V mandates. The other reason is that Annex V imposes a zero-discharge standard in special areas, and vessels transiting these areas must be able to comply. In most special areas, food waste must be discharged at least 12 nautical miles from shore; in the Wider Caribbean only, comminuted (i.e., ground) food waste may be discharged beyond 3 nautical miles from shore. The IMO has designated eight special areas under Annex V.14 The discharge restrictions have gone into force in three areas: the Baltic Sea, the North Sea, and the Antarctic Ocean. The mandates will take effect in the Mediterranean Sea, the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea, the Black Sea, and the Caribbean once IMO determines that sufficient port reception facilities are available bordering the special area. It is important to note that the designation of special areas is a political process, as opposed to an entirely scientific one. The Wider Caribbean was so designated by IMO at the urging of the United States and in consultation with other nations in the region, including Mexico and Cuba, neither of which is a signatory of Annex V. The special area status of this region will make unique demands on executive agencies of the U.S. government and will require coordination of enforcement and compliance efforts among the countries bordering the Wider Caribbean. The Gulf of Mexico Program. (GOMP) is one avenue for such coordination. Organized by the EPA regions15 spanning the gulf, the GOMP is an interagency effort 14 Different special areas may be designated under other MARPOL annexes. This report addresses only those special areas designated under Annex V. 15 The EPA divides the United States into 10 regions for administrative purposes. The Gulf of Mexico falls within two jurisdictions, so oversight of the special area requires the cooperation of both the Atlanta and the Dallas EPA headquarters.
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Clean Ships Clean Ports Clean Oceans: Controlling Garbage and Plastic Wastes at Sea that draws heavily on the local expertise of community-based organizations and industries. Programs include educational campaigns and recycling awareness programs. Each decision typically involves the deliberations of most groups that would be concerned about the topic, so the resulting action plan reflects at least some of their needs and objectives. This approach requires a capability to sustain intense participation across a number of organizations that have not interacted previously; success is determined in part by the personal characteristics and skills of the individuals involved. Although the cooperative decision-making approach is time intensive and demanding, the process has yielded some distinctive results. The program produced the first regional Marine Debris Action Plan (Gulf of Mexico Program, 1991) and provides a forum for sharing the results of local efforts through regional meetings and professional papers. This record demonstrates the utility of a consensus-building approach across several jurisdictions and communities. The consensus-based, open format approach has helped to advance the working-level implementation of Annex V. THE CHALLENGES AHEAD The level of independent activity under way to support implementation of Annex V is a positive sign. Clearly this environmental goal has supporters, both within and outside government. However, the many isolated initiatives and current levels of effort do not add up to full compliance, or even a national strategy that will lead to full compliance. Efforts to improve compliance already are under way at the international level through IMO, which serves as the forum for formally amending MARPOL 73/78 and also offers technical services to help nations overcome obstacles and track compliance. Through its committees, IMO has launched efforts to promote Annex V compliance by further clarifying procedures for port state enforcement with regard to control of pollution from vessels, and to examine the vessel/port interface (including port reception facilities). The challenge now for the United States is to identify, recruit, organize, integrate, and manage the various elements and resources already in existence that can provide the foundation for a national implementation program. The underpinning of such a program has to be "nuts and bolts" advice of individuals already engaged in the effort, whether at work on the waterfront, volunteering for citizen groups, or holding desk jobs in government. Their observations and experience provide the best evidence on strategies that work, and it is on their shoulders that the ultimate burden for implementation falls. Wide exchange of information about strategies proven to be successful, as well as additional research on and development of promising concepts, clearly could be helpful in implementing Annex V. In addition, common sense suggests that compliance practices ought to be integrated thoroughly into normal vessel and port operations; they
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Clean Ships Clean Ports Clean Oceans: Controlling Garbage and Plastic Wastes at Sea should not be disruptive, competitively harmful, or so expensive as to drain the resources of government or private organizations. While addressing domestic needs and opportunities, U.S. policy also needs to recognize the international aspects of the problem of vessel garbage, which is generated by all maritime nations and taints the environment worldwide. U.S. officials must have a full understanding of both the opportunities and constraints afforded by international law, which provides the context for Annex V implementation. The United States also carries the responsibility of a world leader to provide a model for compliance and promote multilateral cooperation to advance Annex V implementation worldwide. The following chapter further defines the challenges in the Annex V implementation by examining what is known about the sources, fates, and effects of vessel garbage. REFERENCES Ad Hoc Advisory Committee on Plastics. 1988. Reducing Navy Marine Plastic Pollution. A report to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Shipbuilding and Logistics. Available from the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Washington, D.C. June 28. Alig, C.S., L. Koss, T. Scarano, and F. Chitty. 1990. Control of plastic wastes aboard naval ships at sea. Pp. 879-894 in Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Marine Debris, 2-7 April 1989, Honolulu, Hawaii (Vol. II), R.S. Shomura and M.L. Godfrey, eds. NOAA-TMNMFS-SWFSC-154. Available from the Marine Entanglement Research Program of the National Marine Fisheries Service (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), Seattle, Wash. December. Amos, A.F. 1993, Solid waste pollution of Texas beaches: a Post-MARPOL Annex V study, Vol 1: Narrative. OCS Study MMS 93-0013. Available from the public information unit of the U.S. Department of the Interior, Minerals Management Service, Gulf of Mexico OCS Region, New Orleans, La. July. Bierce, R. and K. O'Hara, eds. 1994. 1993 National Coastal Cleanup Results. Washington, D.C.: Center for Marine Conservation. Chitty, F. 1989. Presentation by Fred Chitty, supply officer for the U.S. Navy Atlantic Fleet, to the Ad Hoc Advisory Committee on Plastics, Washington, D.C., May 30, 1989. Cole, C.A., W.P. Gregg, D.V. Richards, and D.A. Manski. 1992. Annual Report of National Park Marine Debris Monitoring Program, 1991 Marine Debris Surveys with Summary of Data from 1988 to 1991. Tech Rpt. NPS-NRWV/NRT-92/10. Available from the Natural Resources Publications Office of the National Park Service, Denver, Colo. Debenham, P. and L.K. Younger. 1991. Cleaning North America's Beaches: 1990 Beach Cleanup Results. Washington, D.C.: Center for Marine Conservation. May. Eastern Research Group, Inc. (ERG). 1992. Report to Congress on Compliance with the Marine Plastic Pollution Research and Control Act of 1987, Report prepared for the U.S. Coast Guard by ERG, Arlington, Mass. (now Lexington, Mass.). June 24. F.I.S.H. Habitat Education Program. 1994. Net Recycling Program Summary. Fact sheet prepared by the Fishermen Involved in Saving Habitat Education Program, Gladstone, Ore. Goldberg, E.D. 1976. The Health of the Oceans. Paris: UNESCO Press. Gulf of Mexico Program. 1991. Marine Debris Action Plan for the Gulf of Mexico. Dallas, Tex.: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. October.
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Clean Ships Clean Ports Clean Oceans: Controlling Garbage and Plastic Wastes at Sea Hodge, K.L. and J. Glen. 1993. 1992 National Coastal Cleanup Report. Washington, D.C.: Center for Marine Conservation. August. Hollin, D. and M. Liffman. 1991. Use of MARPOL Annex V Reception Facilities and Disposal Systems at Selected Gulf of Mexico Ports, Private Terminals and Recreational Boating Facilities. Report to the Texas General Land Office by Dewayne Hollin, Texas A&M University Sea Grant College Program, and Michael Liffman, Louisiana State University Sea Grant College Program. September . Hollin, D. and M. Liffman. 1993. Survey of Gulf of Mexico Marine Operations and Recreational Interests: Monitoring of MARPOL Annex V Compliance Trends. Report to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 6, Gulf of Mexico Program by Dewayne Hollin, Texas A&M University Sea Grant College Program, and Michael Liffman, Louisiana State University Sea Grant College Program. Kauffman, J., M. Brown, and K. O'Hara. 1990. California Marine Debris Action Plan. San Francisco: Center for Marine Conservation. Kauffman, M. 1992. Launching A Recycling Program at Your Marina. San Francisco: Coastal Resources Center. February. Koss, L.J. 1994. Dealing With Ship-generated Plastics Waste on Navy Surface Ships. Paper presented at the Third International Conference on Marine Debris, Miami, Fla., May 8-13, 1994. Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Department of the Navy, Washington, D.C. Marine Mammal Commission (MMC). 1986. Annual Report of the Marine Mammal Commission, Calendar Year 1985, a report to Congress. Washington, D.C.: MMC. Jan. 31. Marine Mammal Commission (MMC). 1987. Annual Report of the Marine Mammal Commission, Calendar Year 1986, a report to Congress. Washington, D.C.: MMC. Jan. 31. Marine Mammal Commission (MMC). 1988. Annual Report of the Marine Mammal Commission, Calendar Year 1987, a report to Congress. Washington, D.C.: MMC. Jan. 31. Marine Mammal Commission (MMC). 1989. Annual Report of the Marine Mammal Commission, Calendar Year 1988, a report to Congress . Washington, D.C.: MMC. Jan. 31. Marine Mammal Commission (MMC). 1990. Annual Report of the Marine Mammal Commission, Calendar Year 1989, a report to Congress. January 31. Marine Mammal Commission (MMC). 1991. Annual Report of the Marine Mammal Commission, Calendar Year 1990, a report to Congress. Washington, D.C.: MMC. Jan. 31. Marine Mammal Commission (MMC). 1992. Annual Report of the Marine Mammal Commission, Calendar Year 1991, a report to Congress. Washington, D.C.: MMC. Jan. 31. Marine Mammal Commission (MMC). 1993. Annual Report of the Marine Mammal Commission, Calendar Year 1992, a report to Congress. Washington, D.C.: MMC. Jan. 31. Marine Plastic Debris Task Force. 1988. Marine Plastic Debris Action Plan for Washington State. Olympia, Wash.: Washington State Department of Natural Resources. Mauro, G. 1993. Testimony of Garry P. Mauro, commissioner, Texas General Land Office, before the Subcommittee on Superfund, Ocean, and Water Protection of the Committee on Environment and Public Works, U.S. Senate, 102nd Congress, Second Session, Washington, D.C., Sept. 17, 1992. P. 10 in Implementation of the Marine Plastic Pollution Research and Control Act. S. Hrg. 102-984. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office. Middleton, L., J. Huntley and J. Burgiel. 1991. U.S. Navy Shipboard Generated Plastic Waste Pilot Recycling Program . Washington, D.C.: Council for Solid Waste Solutions of the Society of the Plastics Industry. March. O'Hara, K.J. and P. Debenham. 1989. Cleaning America's Beaches: 1988 National Beach Cleanup Results. Washington, D.C.: Center for Marine Conservation. September. O'Hara, K.J. and L.K. Younger. 1990. Cleaning North America's Beaches: 1989 Beach Cleanup Results. Washington, D.C.: Center for Marine Conservation. May.
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Clean Ships Clean Ports Clean Oceans: Controlling Garbage and Plastic Wastes at Sea R.L. Associates. 1988. The Economic Impact of Visitors to the New Jersey shore the summer of 1988. Report prepared for the New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism by R.L. Associates, Princeton, N.J. Recht, F. 1988. Report on a Port-Based Project to Reduce Marine Debris. NWAFC Processed Report 88-13. Report prepared for the Northwest and Alaska Fisheries Center of the Marine Entanglement Research Program (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), Seattle, Wash. July. Roehl, W.S. and R. Ditton. 1993. Impacts of the offshore marine industry on coastal tourism: The case of Padre Island National Seashore. Coastal Management 21:77-89. Rose, R. 1990. Marine plastic debris: What Washington state has done. Pp. 1020-1028 in Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Marine Debris, 2-7 April 1989, Honolulu, Hawaii (Vol. II), R.S. Shomura and M.L. Godfrey, eds. NOAA-TM-NMFS-SWFSC-154. Available from the Marine Entanglement Research Program of the National Marine Fisheries Service (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), Seattle, Wash. December. Ryan, P.G. and C.L. Moloney. 1993. Marine litter keeps increasing. Nature 361:23. Jan. 7. U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO). 1992. International Environment: International Agreements Are Not Well Monitored. GAO/RCED-92-43. Washington, D.C.: GAO Resources, Community, and Economic Development Division. January. U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO). 1994a. Pollution Prevention: Chronology of Navy Ship Waste Processing Equipment Development. GAO/NSIAD-94-221FS. Washington, D.C.: GAO National Security and International Affairs Division. August. U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO). 1994b. Pollution Prevention: The Navy Needs Better Plans for Reducing Ship Waste Discharges. GAO/NSIAD-95-38. Washington, D.C.: GAO National Security and International Affairs Division. November. Younger, L.K. and Hodge, K. 1992. 1991 International Coastal Cleanup Overview. Washington, D.C.: Center for Marine Conservation. May.
Representative terms from entire chapter: