National Academies Press: OpenBook
Suggested Citation:"SOURCES OF SHIPBORNE GARBAGE." 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 35
Suggested Citation:"SOURCES OF SHIPBORNE GARBAGE." 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 36
Suggested Citation:"SOURCES OF SHIPBORNE GARBAGE." 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 37
Suggested Citation:"SOURCES OF SHIPBORNE GARBAGE." 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 38
Suggested Citation:"SOURCES OF SHIPBORNE GARBAGE." 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 39

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SOURCES, FATES, AND EFFECTS OF SHIPBORNE GARBAGE 35 TABLE 2-1 Indicator Items That May be Used to Identify Sources of Beach Debris in the Gulf of Mexico SOURCE ITEMS OTHER SOURCES Offshore oil and gas Pipe-thread protectors; Fishing; merchant operators 55-gallon drums; 5- mariners gallon pails; large white plastic sheets Fishing (shrimpers, long- Rubber gloves; 5-gallon Recreational boaters liners) pails, milk jugs; egg cartons; onion sacks; light sticks; plastic sheets Merchant mariners Galley-waste containers None with non-U.S. labels Recreational boaters Outboard motor oil Fishing; beach goers containers Beach goers Beverage cans; fast Fishing; recreational food containers boaters; merchant mariners Source: Amos, 1993a. date the results have been disappointing in terms of the failure to detect clear trends. The federal government plans to put a new national monitoring program in place in 1995. The program will make use of a statistical methodology for monitoring marine debris that was developed and reviewed by federal agencies and environmental organizations. Applications for this methodology also are being studied by Latin American and Caribbean countries. SOURCES OF SHIPBORNE GARBAGE Information about sources of shipborne garbage is useful because it can suggest where Annex V implementation efforts should be directed. The sources of garbage regulated by Annex V are ''all ships,'' where a ship is defined as "...a vessel of any type whatsoever operating in the marine environment and includes hydrofoil boats, air-cushion vehicles, submersibles, floating craft and fixed or floating platforms." (See Appendix B.) Thus, many diverse fleets and vessels are potential sources of garbage. The true sources, of course, are the persons aboard these vessels who generate garbage as a normal consequence of all the sundry activities they pursue. The quantity and nature of vessel discards depend in part on the standards of crew or passenger accommodations. The amount of garbage is proportional to the community's standard of living; the higher the standard, the more seafarers are likely to use packaged prepared foods, supplies, and single- use items rather than provisions requiring added preparation and cleanup. (Moreover, the use of dis-

SOURCES, FATES, AND EFFECTS OF SHIPBORNE GARBAGE 36 posable items and packaging has been encouraged by changes in ship practices, sanitation concerns, and a desire for convenience.) The result is added waste. When an individual is accustomed to a high standard of living on shore, he or she expects similar conveniences on a vessel, despite the cramped living space. Modem vessels are capable of providing many conveniences, even on long voyages. The task of measuring the amounts of garbage produced during normal voyages is not well supported by present Annex V compliance and enforcement programs. The committee was unable to locate or develop any precise data for any phase of the garbage cycle.3 There are no reliable data on the characteristics and amounts of vessel garbage generated by all the maritime sectors to which Annex V applies. Nevertheless, drawing on numerous sources, the committee sought to characterize as completely as possible the various fleets and the garbage they generate. Nine major maritime sectors are addressed in this report.4 The information presented in this chapter is deliberately brief; additional details about each fleet and its garbage management practices are provided in Chapter 4. The only all-inclusive estimates of amounts of garbage generated by U.S. maritime sectors were developed in support of MARPOL/MPPRCA rule making for the Department of Transportation by the Eastern Research Group (1988) and later revised (Cantin et al., 1990). (See Table 2-2.) These estimates, while based on some flawed assumptions, provide an initial perspective on sources of vessel garbage. The Cantin data identified recreational boaters as generating the largest amount of garbage (by weight), more than 50 percent of the total. Day boats and fishing vessels each were thought to contribute close to 20 percent of the total. The Cantin data must be employed carefully because they are based on some fleet-specific assumptions that are either outdated or, in the committee's judgment, questionable. The former problem is obvious with regard to the merchant marine, for example. The maritime industry has changed considerably in recent years. Environmental awareness has increased within the industry, while the continued depression in worldwide shipping has spurred operators to reduce crew sizes, change organizational structures and voyage patterns, and expand shoreside responsibilities for vessel garbage management. These factors can influence the amounts of garbage generated. An example of a questionable assumption may be found in the Cantin calculations for the recreational boating sector, in which per-person garbage generation was presumed to be similar to that for cargo ships. This correlation seems doubtful, considering that boaters generally eat only one meal per voyage, while merchant mariners may consume three meals daily and generate additional garbage from food preparation. Thus, the Cantin estimate for 3 A now-outdated study by the National Research Council (1975) estimated that ocean- going vessels discard 635,000 MT (14 billion pounds) of wastes every year. 4 Each sector reflects a general type of vessel; most surface vessels would fit into one of the nine categories (the committee did not examine submarines). Any omissions of specific sectors or vessels are due only to limits on the committee's time and resources.

SOURCES, FATES, AND EFFECTS OF SHIPBORNE GARBAGE 37 TABLE 2-2 Annual Garbage Generation by U.S. Maritime Sectorsa,b Sector Garbage Generated (MT) Percent of Total Recreational Boats 636,055 51.4 Day Boats 245,108 19.8 Fishing Vessels 233,177 18.8 Small Public Vessels 3.2 U.S. Navy 34,611 U.S. Coast Guard 4,317 U.S. Army: 490 Schools 266 Cargo Ships 30,949 2.5 Navy Surface Combatant Vessels 21,968 1.8 Offshore Industry 1.4 Platforms 14,721 Service 1,989 Passenger Cruise Ships 13,347 1.1 Miscellaneous Vessels 1,161 0.1 Research Vessels <<0.1 NOAA 317 Other 213 Total 1,238,689 99.99 a This garbage is not necessarily discharged overboard. b The original presentation of the data has been revised to conform with the committee's maritime sectors. Source: Cantin et al., 1990. boaters' garbage seems high. Other salient observations on the Cantin data may be found in the forthcoming descriptions of each sector. The data presented in Table 2-2 reflect garbage generation. The Cantin study also estimated amounts of garbage discharged ashore and overboard by each maritime sector, both before and after ratification of Annex V. These estimates were incorporated into a congressionally mandated study of plastic waste materials, including marine debris (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1990). In the committee's judgment, neither the Cantin nor the EPA results with respect to garbage discharged overboard can be relied on, even to gain an initial perspective on disposal practices. The committee's misgivings are due primarily to the absence of any way to know whether the estimates are even reasonable. Indeed, little is known about the amounts of garbage discarded at sea, or, correspondingly, whether these disposal levels are environmentally acceptable. Examination of these issues is beyond the scope of the present report. However, recognizing the shortcomings of available data, the committee developed its own estimates of vessel garbage generation based on weighting factors obtained from a variety of sources (see Table 2-3). These rough approxi-

SOURCES, FATES, AND EFFECTS OF SHIPBORNE GARBAGE 38 TABLE 2-3 Characterization of Vessel Garbage Generated in U.S. Maritime Sectorsa Estimate of Annual Average Crew/Passengers Number of Low Average High Vessel Vessels Utilizationc Recreational Boats 7,300,000 1 2 6 0.06 Fishing Vessels 129,000 1 4 200 0.66 Cargo Ships 7,800 17 20 25 0.96 Day Boats 5,200 6 46 330 0.66 Small Public 3,194 Vessels U.S. Navy 284 25 150 300 0.33 U.S. Coast Guard 2,316 5 8 140 0.3 U.S. Army 580 5 6 40 0.2 Schools 14 50 100 150 0.35 Offshore Industry 2625 Platforms 1125 15 22 40 1 Service Vessels 1500 3 7 20 1 Navy Combatant Surface Vessels 360 200 436 5900 0.33 Passenger Cruise 128 125 2,250 3,300 0.96 Ships Research Vessels 125 NOAA 25 10 90 110 0.75 Othere 100 10 30 50 0.5 Miscellaneous 85 7 23 30 1 Vesselsf Total a U.S. maritime sectors include foreign-flag vessels that call at U.S. ports as well as all U.S.-flag vessels. b Domestic garbage includes food waste and personal care items; operational/maintenance wastes include fuel oil and fishing wastes; cargo-related garbage includes packaging materials and dunnage. c Vessel utilization is an estimate of the number of days per year vessels are used (1.00 = 365 days). d Day use is an estimate of how long vessels operate during a day of use (1 = 24 hours). e Other research vessels include those operated by private institutions or by federal agencies other than NOAA (e.g., EPA). f Miscellaneous vessels include those operated by private industry. Sources: All figures are based on the best information available to the Committee on Shipborne Wastes. Estimates of garbage generation (shown in the column entitled "Total [metric tons]") were derived by multiplying together all the preceding figures in each row (using only the average number of crew/passengers). The committee relied on the following sources in developing the table: Recreational Boats: Cantin et al., 1990; American Red Cross, 1991; U.S. Coast Guard, 1992a. (The

SOURCES, FATES, AND EFFECTS OF SHIPBORNE GARBAGE 39 total number of vessels is all boats registered in coastal states or in states bordering the Great Lakes. Fishing Vessels: Cantin et al., 1990; National Research Council, 1991. Cargo Ships: U.S. Maritime Administration, 1992a, 1992b; 1992 data obtained from the Maritime Administration's Office of Trade Statistics and Insurance, Washington, D.C.; 1993 data obtained from the U.S. Coast Guard's Marine Information Management System database. (The total number of cargo ships is the number of different ships of all flags calling at U.S. ports annually.) Day Boats: U.S. Coast Guard, 1994a. Small Public Vessels: U.S. Coast Guard, 1992b. Offshore Oil Industry: U.S. Coast Guard, 1994b; Minerals Management Service, 1992; .1994 data obtained from Offshore Marine Services Association, New Orleans, La. U.S. Navy Surface Combatant Vessels: cantin et al., 1990; Polmar, 1992; Forecast International, 1992; 1994 data obtained from U.S. Navy International Programs Office, Washington, D.C. Passenger Cruise Ships: Cantin et al., 1990; Cruise Lines International Association, 1994. Research Vessels: Cantin et al., 1990; National Research Council, 1994. Miscellaneous Vessels: Cantin et al., 1990.

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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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