National Academies Press: OpenBook
Suggested Citation:"RECOMMENDATIONS FOR GOVERNMENT ACTION." 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.
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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 8 streamline enforcement by issuing "tickets" in civil cases, particularly in the fisheries and recreational boating sectors; require that ports provide receipts for garbage off-loaded into their reception facilities, and then compare the receipts to vessel garbage logs; require that cargo and cruise ships off-load garbage at U.S. port calls; enlist the assistance of additional government agencies in reporting Annex V violations; encourage vessel operators to report inadequate reception facilities; and conduct public awareness campaigns urging citizens to report illegal garbage disposal. The committee concludes that (1) enforcement action must be taken and followed up in every case where the United States can assert jurisdiction, even when the violator is a foreign-flag vessel; (2) the Coast Guard is the appropriate agency to lead expanded enforcement efforts; and (3) the Coast Guard needs to take additional steps to enhance enforcement where most needed. Accurate record keeping and analysis of garbage records could be useful in determining where special enforcement efforts are needed as well as in measuring progress in Annex V implementation. The most easily implemented record-keeping system may be a combined Coast Guard/APHIS database on vessel garbage handling, making use of existing APHIS records of vessel boardings and garbage off-loading, and information from garbage logs and Coast Guard enforcement reports. The committee concludes that, to make the best use of existing information and enforcement assets, systematic government record keeping and analysis is needed. The third issue is special areas, which must be taken into account in devising a U.S. strategy for Annex V implementation. These are areas designated under Annex V where, because of heavy vessel traffic and/or highly sensitive ecosystems, IMO prohibits overboard discharges of all garbage except food waste.5 These restrictions mean that vessels operating in special areas need to achieve zero-discharge capability. In addition, the United States needs to find ways to help assure that sufficient numbers of adequate port reception facilities exist in the nearby Wider Caribbean special area. RECOMMENDATIONS FOR GOVERNMENT ACTION While it is the responsibility of individual mariners to conform with international standards on garbage management and disposal, the federal government can take important steps to facilitate, promote, and compel compliance. Recommendations 5 Eight special areas have been designated under Annex V. The requirements are in force in the Antarctic Ocean, Baltic Sea, and the North Sea. Once IMO determines that sufficient numbers of adequate port reception facilities have been provided, the mandates will take effect in the Black Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea, and —of chief concern to the United States—the Wider Caribbean, which includes the Gulf of Mexico.

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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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