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Suggested Citation:"State Initiatives." 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 25

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DIMENSIONS OF THE CHALLENGE AND U.S. PROGRESS 25 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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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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