National Academies Press: OpenBook

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


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Suggested Citation:"ENHANCING THE VESSEL GARBAGE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM." 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 159

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INTEGRATING VESSEL AND SHORESIDE GARBAGE MANAGEMENT 159 Recycling (the third column) may be easy to arrange in a community that offers curbside recycling to residents and businesses. On the other hand, a regional or national infrastructure is required to direct the materials from widely dispersed terminals into the recycling network. Several local fishing communities have demonstrated that fishing nets can be collected and recycled, but it is difficult to sustain such efforts without access to either a regional network of recyclers or waste exchanges that can help locate markets for the recycled materials. When the Coastal Resources Center (CRC) conducted a recycling pilot project at a recreational marina in California (Kauffman, 1992), the effort proved more difficult than had been anticipated due to swings in the markets for reselling the collected materials and the amount of work required to deliver the materials to the recyclers.8 Such problems may tend to limit the popularity of recycling as an option for handling vessel garbage. Strengthening this infrastructure would be a way to promote recycling. Some garbage materials may be exactly what a manufacturer needs or can use as feedstock. Waste exchanges have evolved with EPA support to encourage those with waste materials to locate others who can use the materials (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1994). Such efforts can help identify potential markets for recyclable materials that otherwise would be returned as garbage to port reception facilities. Mariners and port operators could participate in these waste exchanges. Some efforts are under way in the United States to improve the prospects for recycling: Researchers at New Jersey Institute of Technology are exploring the use of old plastic fishing nets (and maybe nylon and plastic fishing line) to form a matrix in asphalt. Key needs (the fifth column) include coordination within the port and between the port and the local or regional ISWMS. ENHANCING THE VESSEL GARBAGE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM Some factors contributing to successful garbage management by ports have been identified. For instance, while flexibility is necessary to accommodate local needs and resources and the wide variance in vessel practices, it is essential that one entity take charge of identifying and planning the port's waste management activities and work toward their implementation (Recht and Lasseigne, 1990; Kearney/Centaur and Martinez, 1991). However, in most U.S. ports, no one person affiliated with the port or local government is responsible for port-wide garbage management planning. As a result, vessel garbage is handled on an ad hoc basis. 8 The CRC overcame these difficulties, and the project has become a permanent fixture at the harbor. Indeed, comprehensive recycling has had a number of benefits, including reductions in garbage hauling costs and the amount of staff time spent on waste management.

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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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