National Academies Press: OpenBook

Clean Ships, Clean Ports, Clean Oceans: Controlling Garbage and Plastic Wastes at Sea (1995)

Chapter: RECORD KEEPING AS A MEASURE OF IMPLEMENTATION

« Previous: 8 Measuring Progress in Implementation of Annex V
Suggested Citation:"RECORD KEEPING AS A MEASURE OF IMPLEMENTATION." 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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MEASURING PROGRESS IN IMPLEMENTATION OF ANNEX V 211 RECORD KEEPING AS A MEASURE OF IMPLEMENTATION The committee's work has revealed that information is available that could be used to measure Annex V compliance but, for a variety of reasons, it is not yet put to that use. Progress in U.S. implementation of Annex V could be measured in a straightforward manner if comprehensive data were collected over time on numbers of vessels discharging garbage at ports, amounts of garbage discharged, numbers of complaints about garbage reception facilities, and numbers of repeat violations by vessels and ports. Such data would enable the federal government to conduct meaningful analyses of compliance that are not now possible. Such information also would support strategic planning and program evaluation showing, for example, the statistical relationship between educational programs and Annex V compliance, and between the status of port reception facilities and local levels of marine debris. Moreover, the agencies involved in Annex V implementation could identify weak spots where resources should be directed and gain access to useful data collected by other departments. If a comprehensive record-keeping system were desired, then it would be necessary to develop a government-wide format for Annex V data, collect systematically various types of information from myriad sources, and then combine it all in an electronic database. The Coast Guard could input information from vessel garbage logs, Annex V enforcement reports, and the Certificate of Adequacy program. The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) could input the data it collects on vessel compliance and amounts of garbage off-loaded. Similarly, the Minerals Management Service, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the Department of State, and all other agencies involved with Annex V could collect and input their own data. Such a task would be enormous. The work involved could not be justified for years—until enough data had been collected to enable meaningful analysis. In addition, there is the question of who would oversee such an interagency effort. If a national commission were established to oversee Annex V implementation (as suggested in Chapter 7), perhaps it could coordinate the development of a comprehensive database. In the meantime, a smaller-scale record-keeping regime might be feasible, particularly if it made use of records already available. The most easily implemented and potentially most useful system might be a combined Coast Guard/APHIS record-keeping program on vessel garbage handling. APHIS retains but apparently makes little use of records of vessel boardings and garbage off-loading. One research team (Hollin and Liffman, 1993) had to collect manually the information recorded on more than 1,500 vessel boarding cards in order to identify an apparent trend in use of shipboard equipment to comply with Annex V. This type of information could be logged into a unified system. The Coast Guard and APHIS would have to agree to cooperate, establish a common reporting format, convert their data into electronic form, and input it into a database. Apart from providing benchmarks for measuring Annex V imple-

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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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