National Academies Press: OpenBook

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


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Suggested Citation:"IDENTIFYING AND EVALUATING STRATEGIES AND TACTICS." 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.
Page 223
Suggested Citation:"IDENTIFYING AND EVALUATING STRATEGIES AND TACTICS." 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.
Page 224

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NATIONAL STRATEGY 223 compliance by reducing a source of marine debris. At the same time, it is important to recognize that the infrastructure for recycling plastic materials used by mariners is not well developed. Even where markets exist for recycled materials and products, there is seldom a convenient and cost-effective arrangement for converting the collected waste materials into products. But as this and other aspects of the ISWMS are improved, new opportunities will be created to improve management of vessel garbage. This chapter takes such considerations into account in identifying, for each maritime sector, a set of strategic objectives that should serve as milestones in working toward the overall goal of Annex V implementation. In addition, specific actions are recommended or suggested that would foster attainment of these objectives. In combination, these sets of objectives and tactics constitute the foundation for a national Annex V implementation strategy. Federal actions needed to help execute this strategy across all fleets are described in Chapter 10. The committee wishes to emphasize that an objective is something to be pursued, rather than an absolute requirement (as would be established by law), and that existing obstacles to Annex V compliance, however onerous, should not serve as justification for abandoning an objective. The following introduction outlines the committee's approach to identifying priorities for each sector. IDENTIFYING AND EVALUATING STRATEGIES AND TACTICS The starting point for developing the sector-by-sector implementation strategy is the set of interventions identified in Chapter 4. The matrices in that chapter illustrate the options the committee considers worthy of serious consideration. While any of those interventions might yield some benefits, the committee believes certain objectives and actions to be compulsory if full implementation of Annex V is to be achieved. This chapter outlines these essential elements, which were identified based on the analysis presented in Chapters 4 through 8 and the collective judgment and expertise of the committee. The proposed interventions may be neither easy to execute nor rapidly achieved, but they are critical elements of a national Annex V implementation strategy. As a guide in identifying the priorities, the committee established a set of criteria, which were employed to screen possible interventions. The committee relied on its collective judgment, rather than formal analysis, to determine whether an alternative met the criteria. (Formal analysis may be impossible, in any case, due to the paucity of data on marine debris and the difficulty of measuring debris levels.) Authorities implementing Annex V should continue to employ these criteria consistently but informally, without elaborate analyses, in evaluating the effectiveness of any actions proposed here that are pursued. The committee believes the implementation program would be strongest if these few criteria were applied informally to all activities, as opposed to a more complicated ap-

NATIONAL STRATEGY 224 proach. The committee also believes the continuing evaluation process should retain the benefit of the direct observations and experiences of individuals engaged in implementing Annex V. In their daily work, the members of the various maritime sectors know far better than any outside observers what succeeds in their arena. The following criteria were developed and used by the committee: • Effectiveness. An intervention must be likely to reduce, or provide essential data for reducing the environmental hazard posed by vessel garbage, by either reducing the amount of material or improving handling of the material, in ways that undeniably can show trends in waste entry to the marine environment. • Cost Effectiveness. An intervention must be effective enough to justify its cost. The committee did not examine costs of the various options in detail but believes the proposed actions would be effective enough to justify the expenses incurred. The most expensive proposals might have to be evaluated independently by those who would implement them. Other, less expensive proposals may be desirable in the short-term. • Efficiency. The interventions must interfere as little as possible with ongoing activities and must be affordable in terms of time and resources to the maritime sector(s) and government regulators involved. • Timeliness of Results. The actions must allow for some reasonable level of preparation and control and yield improvement within an acceptable time frame. • Equity. The interventions must provide remedies where most needed or in ways that distribute the implementation effort both within and among the maritime sectors. • Sustainability. The actions must help build a permanent Annex V implementation regime and foster the mariner's capability to sustain compliance. In using these criteria to identify priority objectives and tactics for each maritime sector, the committee did not attempt to rank the proposals. However, two biases emerged in the analysis that serve to emphasize certain types of proposals. First, the committee placed priority on actions that are upstream (toward the left) in the hazard evolution model described in Chapters 3 and 4. Logic dictates that these actions would tend to be the most beneficial environmentally (although not necessarily in terms of cost and social advantages) because they address the problem in its earliest stages. Waste reduction is an example of such an approach. Second, the committee emphasized the need to achieve zero-discharge capability, where appropriate. This is a legal mandate for vessels that operate in special areas (where only food waste may be discharged). It is also an appropriate objective for vessels dedicated to day trips, because zero discharge should be easy to achieve in this sector and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) guidelines for Annex V implementation recommend use of port re-

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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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