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Suggested Citation:"Who Should Pay?." 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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Page 166

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INTEGRATING VESSEL AND SHORESIDE GARBAGE MANAGEMENT 166 concerns. For example, in the medical and hazardous waste programs, records are kept that can link the generator to the disposal process. The chain of custody is established, and liability is shared by all those involved; if problems arise, then the waste can be tracked and the culprit identified. Who Should Pay? There is considerable debate over who should pay for vessel garbage services. On one level, the question is whether these services are a public responsibility, to be funded by government regardless of the amount of garbage or level of service use, or a private responsibility, to be paid for only by those who use it. On another level, the question is, what funding mechanism should be used? These questions need to be answered if the vessel garbage management system is to be effective and efficient. Fundamentally, there are three options. One is for each vessel or agent to arrange for garbage services individually, with no port involvement beyond the provision of adequate reception facilities. This is the current approach. While in keeping with the government's free-market policy, this method has allowed for wide variations in disposal fees and, in some cases, inadequate facilities. The inconsistency among disposal fees and the perception that costs are too high have discouraged some vessel operators from off-loading garbage, 19 which then may end up in the ocean or at ports with less-expensive fees but inferior disposal practices. With respect to the adequacy of facilities, the U.S. debate on this issue has not addressed the true costs (including debt service) of providing additional garbage services. It may be that these costs deter port operators from upgrading facilities. This situation needs to be examined in detail, to determine whether the free market can provide for adequate facilities.20 In other pollution- control arenas, the federal government has offered a variety of incentives and financing 19 A Coast Guard survey revealed that vessel operators may avoid using U.S. port reception facilities for several reasons, including a perception that disposal costs are exorbitant, confusion over the distinction between Annex V garbage and APHIS waste, cost differences among states, and variations in the types of containers used (North, 1993; U.S. Coast Guard, 1993). The Coast Guard has suggested that one way to improve Annex V compliance would be to reduce the cost of garbage disposal options (Eastern Research Group, 1992). 20 The experience in Corpus Christi suggests that a port making a large investment in garbage services is unlikely to see corresponding returns. The Port of Corpus Christi Authority constructed a modest steam boiler, which beginning in mid-1989 was operated full-time by a port employee as an APHIS-certified facility. Costs were high: In addition to the initial $100,000 capital investment, the port had to assume liability for waste treatment (Carangelo and Buch, 1993). The facility was shut down in early 1994 because, ironically, the waste hauler found it cheaper to track quarantined materials to Houston.

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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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