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Suggested Citation:"Control." 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 110

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ELEMENTS OF AN IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGY 110 program for warships. But it has become clear that the Navy's management strategies and technologies are ill-suited to the distinct operational needs and close quarters of small vessels.9 The Navy's strategic plan (U.S. Navy, 1993) concedes this point. However, the Navy does not consider garbage management a major challenge for most auxiliary vessels because trips tend to be short; the problems arise on a small number of vessels, such as minesweepers, that remain at sea for longer periods and may not be able to use compactors due to their magnetic effects (Larry Koss, U.S. Navy, personal communication to Marine Board staff, August 12, 1994). An effective strategy, apart from addressing the unique problems of small vessels, would have to assure zero-discharge capability to permit operations in special areas. The Coast Guard has a strong tradition. of decentralized management of vessel operations, so information about garbage disposal practices is difficult to gather. However, it is clear that attempts to comply with Annex V have created unpleasant conditions for crews. Icebreakers on patrol, for example, can become clogged with plastic debris in every available space. In one instance observed by the committee, a cutter crew retained all plastic garbage, both clean and food-contaminated, and hung it in a large net on the weather deck. While malodorous and unpleasant, this solution was tolerated to ensure compliance with Annex V. Realizing that centralized technical support and decision making were needed to alleviate these problems, Coast Guard senior management has developed plans to retrofit on-board garbage treatment equipment (Bunch, 1994). The plans call for polar icebreakers to be fitted with systems consisting of an incinerator, a trash compactor, and a pulper. On cutters with more than 50 crew members and endurance 10 of five days or more, commercial-grade compactors and possibly incinerators and small pulpers will be installed. Small cutters will be equipped with household compactors for treating plastics and other garbage. Numerous compactors and a prototype incinerator have been installed; the key fleetwide issue to be resolved is whether vessels have sufficient space to accommodate the requisite equipment (Sara Ju, U.S. Coast Guard, personal communication to Marine Board staff, August 18, 1994). Control Although all public vessels are under direct federal command and control, the effectiveness of garbage disposal procedures is limited in practice by the nature of service management structures and the slim margin for operational 9 Even application of the Navy's 3-day/20-day rule for plastic wastes severely degrades living conditions; for example, a troop transport vessel can be so loaded with personnel and supplies that individuals must squeeze past each other under ordinary circumstances, so there is literally no room for the garbage generated during even a single day. 10 Endurance refers to the length of time a vessel may remain at sea without returning to port.

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Clean Ships, Clean Ports, Clean Oceans: Controlling Garbage and Plastic Wastes at Sea Get This Book
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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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