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FEDERAL ACTION TO IMPROVE IMPLEMENTATION OF ANNEX V 242 assess progress in implementation of Annex V and the overall effectiveness of the mandate. The committee further concludes that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is best equipped of all federal agencies to lead the monitoring effort, because its Marine Entanglement Research Program (MERP) has collected much of the existing knowledge on marine debris and its Status and Trends Program Could be expanded readily to monitor plastic debris. NOAA could obtain assistance from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which has considerable experience collecting data on land- based sources of debris and debris in urban waterfronts and has developed a beach monitoring program. NOAA also could obtain information from agencies such as the National Park Service, which routinely observes debris at national seashores, and coastal states that monitor beaches. The committee therefore recommends NOAA, with the assistance of EPA, should establish statistically valid, long-term monitoring programs to gather data on the flux of marine debris, the physical transport and fate of marine debris, accumulation of plastic on beaches and in the benthos, wildlife interactions with debris, and the impact of debris on pristine areas. NOAA also should assure that the results of its monitoring programs are communicated to other agencies responsible for Annex V implementation and enforcement. The U.S. government should draw attention to the need for an international data collection effort through IMO and the IOC. VESSEL/SHORE INTERFACE The most prevalent problem across the various maritime sectors is inadequate port reception facilities. This is a result of the lack of planning for Annex V implementation and is a major obstacle to full implementation; far- reaching changes and strong leadership and coordination will be required to overcome this problem. As a first step toward improving the vessel/shore interface, the committee concludes that vessel garbage management must be viewed as a system that includes port reception facilities, and this system needs to be combined with the integrated solid waste management system (ISWMS) for land-generated waste. The ISWMS recognizes the diverse needs for waste treatment to accommodate the many materials generated in the nation's homes and industries, and vessel garbage can be integrated into that system. For a system to function efficiently, there must be a coherent overall management scheme and technical standards. Vessel operators can do much more to reduce shipborne waste and to return the
FEDERAL ACTION TO IMPROVE IMPLEMENTATION OF ANNEX V 243 residual to shore, but they need to be assured access to affordable reception facilities that meet their needs, and the garbage must be disposed of safely and efficiently. In addition, technical standards are needed to help operators of all types of ports, from large commercial ports to recreational marinas, satisfy the Annex V mandate for provision of "adequate" garbage reception facilities. To encourage use of port reception facilities, the question of who should pay for garbage services, and how, needs to be addressed. Because port management is decentralized in the United States, the federal government may have to initiate discussions on this topic. As part of the process, port operators may need to cooperate in finding a rational basis for setting disposal fees, which now vary regionally. One option would be to require that fees paid by ships be comparable to local charges for disposal of land-generated garbage. Alternatively, port tariffs or related user fees could be increased to cover garbage disposal. The committee also concludes that the handling of Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) waste needs to be integrated as fully as possible with the Annex V regime and the system for managing land-generated waste. The APHIS program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), historically has been separate from other waste management efforts, but the need for an efficient and effective overall system demands that the APHIS system be integrated into the ISWMS. The aim is to make compliance with both Annex V and APHIS regimes as easy as possible for vessel operators. The committee further concludes that there is a need to assure accountability of both vessel operators and port operators. This need will be addressed in part by the Coast Guard requirement that operators of ocean-going, U.S.-flag commercial vessels over 12.2 meters (about 40 feet) in length maintain logs of garbage disposal practices. However, it would be difficult and time consuming to verify the accuracy of the logs in any way other than through spot checks. Accountability could be strengthened if ports issued receipts for garbage discharged into their reception facilities. (Knowing the size of the crew and the duration of the voyage since the last port call, the Coast Guard could estimate the amount of garbage that should be discharged at a specific port.) In addition, to assure that ports meet vessel needs for handling of garbage (including APHIS waste), vessel operators could be required to report any inadequate reception facilities using the IMO forms. Such reports would need to be followed up by the Coast Guard, to assure that the necessary improvements were made. In keeping with trends in ISWMS, and based on the effectiveness of small- scale marina recycling projects, the committee also concludes that recycling of vessel garbage needs to be promoted. Materials that have been recycled include plastics, metal cans, and fishing nets. There are needs for infrastructure mechanisms for transporting the materials to processing centers, public awareness efforts to promote recycling, and widespread provision of port reception facilities for returned materials. There is a particular need to establish a recycling system for fishing nets, which are not now recycled but could be.
FEDERAL ACTION TO IMPROVE IMPLEMENTATION OF ANNEX V 244 Finally, the committee concludes that EPA is the logical agency to establish the overall framework for improving the vessel/shore facility interface, due to its expertise in and authority for national management of land- generated waste. The EPA has the expertise to set minimum technical standards appropriate for reception facilities at each type of port. The EPA also has the authority to assure, through the states, that reception facilities meet the standards. The EPA can require that garbage from vessels docked at any port be included in the states' solid waste management plans, which are authorized by the Solid Waste Disposal Act, as amended by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. A congressional directive may be required, however, because the EPA has taken the position that this function is outside its purview. Ultimately, this approach may obviate the need for the Certificate of Adequacy (COA) program run by the Coast Guard, which, realistically, has neither the expertise nor the resources to assess and monitor garbage reception facilities and, moreover, monitors only a limited number of ports. Unless and until the new system is in place, however, the COA program must continue to provide a check on the adequacy of port reception facilities. The EPA can be assisted in improving the vessel/shore interface by the Coast Guard, which runs the COA program and enforces Annex V; the states, which develop solid waste management plans and issue permits to ports, docks, and piers; port and terminal operators, which could assume an expanded role in overseeing the adequacy of reception facilities and assuring customer satisfaction with services; the private sector (e.g., the Solid Waste Association of North America, the Center for Marine Conservation [CMC], professional societies, and industry trade associations), which can help promote recycling and Annex V compliance; and the various maritime sectors, which can communicate their needs and suggest solutions. The EPA also can make use of the forthcoming IMO manual on reception facilities. The committee therefore recommends To improve management of vessel garbage and meet U.S. national and international commitments to implement Annex V, the Congress should direct EPA to use its current resources to establish an overall framework that (1) incorporates the vessel garbage management system into the ISWMS for land-generated waste, (2) requires states to include in their solid waste management plans the disposal of garbage from vessels docked at their ports, (3) establishes technical standards for reception facilities appropriate to each type of port, (4) provides for accountability by requiring commercial ports to issue receipts for garbage discharged at their facilities, and by assuring that states follow up reports of inadequate port reception facilities, and (5) promotes recycling of vessel garbage. The EPA should obtain assistance from the Coast Guard, the states, port and terminal operators, the private sector, and the maritime