National Academies Press: OpenBook

Clean Ships, Clean Ports, Clean Oceans: Controlling Garbage and Plastic Wastes at Sea (1995)


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Suggested Citation:"PRINCIPLES OF INTEGRATED WASTE MANAGEMENT." 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 141
Suggested Citation:"PRINCIPLES OF INTEGRATED WASTE MANAGEMENT." 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 142

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INTEGRATING VESSEL AND SHORESIDE GARBAGE MANAGEMENT 141 with better facilities, so port operators continually modify terminals, equipment, and services to reflect changes in vessels and shipping operations (Atkins, undated). Thus, there is a symbiotic relationship between vessels and their ports of call. Viewing the vessel and port as a system (henceforth referred to as the vessel garbage management system) significantly improves prospects for control and opens the door to solutions, fleet by fleet. This chapter examines the vessel garbage management system, exploring each element and what is needed to integrate vessel garbage into the system for handling land-generated waste. The introduction describes the principles of integrated waste management and how they apply in the maritime setting. The core of the chapter has two parts: an assessment of on-board garbage handling practices and technologies, and an assessment of port reception facilities and practices. The challenge is to maximize the garbage handling capabilities of both the vessel and port and then establish a seamless interface. If this can be achieved, then the goal of full Annex V implementation can be achieved. The final section of the chapter examines four issues that pose barriers to the internal integration of the system: quarantine requirements for vessels arriving from foreign shores, implementation of the Coast Guard's Certificate of Adequacy (COA) program and other requirements for ports, port operators' liability for handling vessel garbage, and financing—both who should pay for garbage services and how they should pay. PRINCIPLES OF INTEGRATED WASTE MANAGEMENT The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines an integrated solid waste management system (ISWMS) as ''a practice of using several alternative waste management techniques to manage and dispose of specific components of the municipal solid waste stream. Waste management alternatives include source reduction, recycling, composting, energy recovery, and landfilling'' (ICF, Inc., 1989). Managers of ISWMS for land-generated waste select and employ these technical alternatives based on analysis of their needs, careful planning, and technical and economic evaluations of options. Implementation of Annex V to date has been guided—or misguided—by a perception that the effort to implement controls over vessel garbage should be separated from other initiatives to control land-generated solid waste. In fact, vessel garbage is simply a poorly controlled solid waste stream that, logic dictates, would best be managed using principles and systems similar to those developed for land-generated waste. Integration of the two systems, rather than development of redundant and parallel regimes for vessel garbage, could simplify implementation of Annex V and minimize the burdens on regulatory agencies and the regulated mariners and ports, in that all could pursue compliance with a

INTEGRATING VESSEL AND SHORESIDE GARBAGE MANAGEMENT 142 consistent national standard, operating within a coordinated regulatory regime. This approach would require the establishment of professional standards for waste management throughout the vessel-port system, as well as oversight and enforcement comparable to that carried out for land-based systems. It is clear that the general principles of integrated solid-waste management apply in the maritime setting. It is also clear that, with notable exceptions, these principles are not put to use consistently because there are important differences between land-based and maritime waste management. First, vessels may continue to discharge some garbage in the oceans legally, so long as they comply with Annex V. Second, waste treatment and storage capabilities are severely restricted on vessels, due to space and weight limits (this becomes an important factor in vessel design and retrofitting). Finally, vessels are mobile and may call at different ports, which has the effect of making garbage disposal demands more unpredictable and ad hoc than they are on land. As conceived by the committee, the vessel garbage management system depends on the key players to carry out the following roles: • The role of vessel operators is to minimize waste through source reduction and to dispose of garbage in compliance with the law through on-board techniques and, where permissible, disposal at sea, and by delivering all other garbage to a port reception facility. • The role of terminal operators and the port reception facility is to receive the remaining garbage and provide a simple process to transfer it to the well-developed disposal system for land-generated waste. • The role of the existing land-based systems and their operators is to integrate the needs of vessel garbage handling into the system and to transfer technologies and methods into the vessel garbage management system. • The role of boat manufacturers and shipyards is to ensure that all new vessels are designed to incorporate convenient garbage storage spaces and, where appropriate, garbage treatment technologies. • The role of state governments is to help port and terminal operators establish and maintain garbage reception facilities. • The role of the federal government is to provide clear legislation, criteria, and guidelines to ensure that this intermodal transfer of waste is simple, cost-effective, and in compliance with the U.S. commitment to MARPOL Annex V. The committee used this framework as a basis for identifying problems with existing procedures as well as potential solutions. The remainder of this chapter outlines how the disparate elements of the vessel-port transaction might be integrated into a process that meshes well with the prevailing national system for handling solid waste.

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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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