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Suggested Citation:"Marine Debris Information Offices." 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 177

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EDUCATION AND TRAINING 177 and involved cooperation among federal agencies and between the public and private sectors. The role of government has been to provide leadership and limited funding. The private sector, including non-profit organizations, scientists, teachers, and community activists, has provided the experience and expertise needed to design and implement the programs. The federal government has made a start in fulfilling its role, but it is acknowledged widely that much more is needed. The objectives of the various agencies with respect to Annex V have not been defined clearly, and perceptions of these goals certainly are not uniform. No agency has established meaningful objectives that would enable measurements of progress. Similarly, no agency has articulated an appropriate organizational theme for rallying the available work force and attracting adequate resources to implement a long- term education and training program that would assure full Annex V compliance at reasonable costs. Following is a summary of the major education and training activities that have been initiated, highlighting lessons learned that may be useful in developing future programs. The summary is not exhaustive but it offers a sense of the characteristics, accomplishments, and diversity of the efforts. These efforts constitute perhaps the richest reservoir of Annex V implementation experience available, as pilot projects have touched every maritime sector. Marine Debris Information Offices The NMFS determined early on that education would have to be a major component of Annex V implementation efforts, because few fishermen or recreational boaters recognized the adverse effects of discharging garbage overboard. The greatest impact of the early educational efforts was believed to be in helping fishermen and others recognize that improved handling of vessel garbage was in their self interest. Several successful MERP programs were aimed at commercial mariners, both in the United States and internationally (Kearney/Centaur, 1989; Recht and Lasseigne, 1990; Wallace, 1990). To reach the wider community of seafarers, MERP sought the assistance of other federal agencies and the private sector. The keystone of the MERP educational program is a pair of Marine Debris Information Offices (MDIOs), established in 1988 and run by the non-profit Center for Marine Conservation (CMC) (Center for Marine Conservation, 1989). The EPA also provides funding for the MDIOs, and the Coast Guard and NOAA cooperate on some of the individual projects. The MDIOs have evolved into international clearinghouses for information and print materials developed by MERP and other organizations, The MDIOs develop and disseminate print material to approximately 11,000 educators, government and industry personnel, and media organizations annually; create, prepare, and distribute information packets aimed at 18 specific maritime groups; and distribute thousands of brochures to recreational boating, fishing, and ship-

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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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