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Suggested Citation:"Information Exchange." National Research Council. 1995. Clean Ships, Clean Ports, Clean Oceans: Controlling Garbage and Plastic Wastes at Sea. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4769.
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Page 182

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EDUCATION AND TRAINING 182 detect and report violations). The CMC also works through the media to persuade mariners to change their behavior (Weisskopf, 1988; Stoller, 1992). Beach cleanups also axe sponsored by a number of other groups, such as the Texas General Land Office, the American Littoral Society, and myriad environmental advocacy organizations across the country. Other types of public awareness efforts have been mounted as well. For example, the National Aquarium in Baltimore recently launched a marine debris education project that includes a documentary about the rescue, treatment, and return to the wild of a pygmy sperm whale that had ingested plastics (Craig Vogt, EPA, personal communication to Marine Board staff, August 5, 1994). The EPA contributed funds for the video. International Efforts Among its other Annex V implementation efforts, the EPA participates in the Gulf of Mexico Program (GOMP), which developed a Boater's Pledge Program to educate boaters about MARPOL and initiated a Take Pride Gulf Wide educational campaign that includes fact sheets and brochures. The GOMP also conducts a public awareness program aimed at marinas in region IV, in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico (U.S. Coast Guard, 1994). The EPA also has produced a marine debris curriculum, available in Spanish, with a chapter on MARPOL. Information Exchange The exchange of information of all varieties has been crucial to the development and implementation of Annex V from the start. Indeed, the scale and scope of marine debris as an environmental pollutant first became clear to government authorities after scientists met to exchange disparate observations and data sets, which yielded a composite picture of harm involving many bodies of water, many ecosystems, and many sources of debris. And where Annex V implementation initiatives have succeeded, considerable credit must go to persistent, aggressive, and largely informal efforts to exchange information. The principal forums for formal information exchange have been three international conferences on marine debris, held in 1984, 1989, and 1994. Sponsors of these conferences have included federal agencies, universities, industry, international organizations, agencies of foreign governments, and research and development institutes. The papers presented and reports of workshops held at these conferences constitute much of the literature base supporting Annex V implementation efforts. Among U.S. government information-exchange efforts, the Marine Debris Roundtable persevered from 1987 to 1990 after a task force failed to produce a formal interagency arrangement to implement Annex V. Through this informal roundtable, mid-level federal managers assembled with representatives from environmental advocacy organizations and the newly regulated maritime sectors.

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Marine debris is a serious environmental problem. To do its part, the United States has agreed to abide by the international treaty for garbage control at sea, known as MARPOL 73/78 Annex V.

Clean Ships, Clean Ports, Clean Oceans explores the challenge of translating Annex V into workable laws and regulations for all kinds of ships and boats, from cruise ships to fishing crafts and recreational boats. The volume examines how existing resources can be leveraged into a comprehensive strategy for compliance, including integrated waste management systems and effective enforcement.

Clean Ships, Clean Ports, Clean Oceans describes both progress toward and obstacles to Annex V compliance. The book covers:

  • How shipborne garbage orignates and what happens to garbage discharged into the seas.
  • Effects of discharge on human health, wildlife safety, and aesthetics.
  • Differences in perspective among military, industrial, and recreational seafarers and shoreside facilities.

Clean Ships, Clean Ports, Clean Oceans will be important to marine policymakers, port administrators, ship operations officers, maritime engineers, and marine ecologists.

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