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Suggested Citation:"GARBAGE MANAGEMENT IN PORTS." 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 155
Suggested Citation:"GARBAGE MANAGEMENT IN PORTS." 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 156

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INTEGRATING VESSEL AND SHORESIDE GARBAGE MANAGEMENT 155 treatment equipment might be advisable, in that some operators, particularly in smaller fisheries, may not be able to afford the requisite improvements on their own. The capital construction program requires that (1) at least 80 percent of reconstruction expenditures be classifiable as "capital" expenses for tax purposes, and (2) costs be either at least $100,000 or, if less, equal to at least 20 percent of the original acquisition cost of the vessel involved. The NMFS has waived the second requirement for vessel improvements to conserve energy; a similar waiver is being considered for improvements to increase vessel safety. Given this philosophy of using the program to support other federal mandates, waivers for pollution abatement also may be appropriate. GARBAGE MANAGEMENT IN PORTS The port reception facility is the link between the international Annex V regime and the U.S. integrated solid waste management system. That interface needs to be as seamless and transparent to users as possible. The committee developed and sent a short questionnaire to a variety of port authorities, port users, and other waterfront facility operators. The responses indicated that the ship/shore interface in the United States is clumsy, inadequate, and at times nonexistent. Each individual port or terminal has to devise its own means to comply, and each has to pay for any related expansion. Rarely has a port had either the funding or the technical preparation to execute the task alone. The problem is not simply that port reception facilities are lacking, although this is sometimes the case. In fact, a recent Coast Guard survey found that reception facilities are readily available on the East and Gulf coasts (North, 1993). The poor interface can be attributed to a variety of factors, including whether a port will allow the vessel to off-load garbage, whether the vessel operator knows that reception facilities exist and where they are located, and whether the facilities arc convenient and affordable. The committee found it impossible to gauge the overall level of activity in all the U.S. ports and terminals that must comply with Annex V.6 Port information for the nine maritime sectors examined by the committee is mostly anecdotal. Available public information has been collected mainly for U.S. Customs purposes; only commercial vessels (both passenger and cargo) are monitored closely. There is little evidence of strategic planning to support the provision of adequate reception facilities, other than IMO's recent efforts to begin to provide 6 The states of Texas and Louisiana have sponsored an extensive survey of garbage reception facilities in the Gulf of Mexico through two Sea Grant studies (Hollin and Liffman, 1991, 1993). The scarcity of data on waste management spurred the National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA) to initiate a program in 1993 to develop improved estimates (Gene Wingartner and Allan Blakey, NSWMA, personal communication to Marine Board staff, September 25, 1992).

INTEGRATING VESSEL AND SHORESIDE GARBAGE MANAGEMENT 156 much-needed guidance.7 In the United States, port governance is highly decentralized. Indeed, ports are far more likely to compete than to cooperate. Public ports, through the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA), exchange information about MARPOL compliance; however, AAPA's membership is largely public and often does not include owners of private terminals. It has not been industry practice to organize internally to coordinate implementation of Annex V or any other international agreement. As a result, terminal operators employ a variety of strategies to handle vessel garbage. The range of current port practices may be best illustrated by specific examples. The norm for the United States is the Port of Charleston, South Carolina. About 200 commercial cargo ships call at the port per month, and each ship's agent makes separate arrangements for vessel services, including garbage disposal; the cost is not included in the port fees. Very little vessel garbage is separated for recycling in the community system. Two companies handle quarantined garbage, which is bagged, boxed, labeled, taped, and hauled 60 miles to an APHIS-certified incinerator. The decentralization of port governance in the United States is quite different from the approach taken in most other countries, where centralized port systems allow for more effective intervention at the national level. Internationally, the state of the art is the highly effective garbage service provided by the Port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, the largest port in the world (Port of Rotterdam, 1992). When a vessel arrives in the port, the port office collects from the ship's agent a deposit to cover port fees and waste collection and disposal charges. Any fine levied against the vessel also is charged against the deposit. When the vessel leaves the port, any unspent portion of the deposit is returned. To handle garbage, the port issues licenses to four firms for the provision of reception facilities. Each licensee charges a tariff for services rendered, with charges based on tonnage and material type. Garbage usually is transported by barge; garbage containers are lowered into the barge, and the average weight of all the containers is estimated for billing purposes. The port imposes a separate environmental fee. The port's participation in the vessel garbage management system ensures that services are carried out in a predictable manner. Several years ago, a regional regime was created by port states to manage marine pollution in Europe. This effort has helped coordinate inspections of merchant vessels among 14 European nations. The inspections focus on struc- 7 The IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee approved the text of a Manual on Reception Facilities at its March 1994 meeting. The manual provides advice on developing a waste-management strategy; planning of reception facilities and choice of location; equipment for garbage collection, storage, and treatment; recycling and disposal; financing and cost recovery; and the needs of small vessels (International Maritime Organization, 1994b). This guidance should assist in U.S. implementation of Annex V.

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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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