It is already a proven fact that the shipping industry dumps million tons of wastes and garbage into the oceans from their day to day operations resulting in enormous marine pollution. Ships are responsible for more than 18% of the water pollution. According to estimation by the International Maritime Organization, ships emit almost 2.2% of the global carbon dioxide emissions in the year 2012. If no action is taken against this, then the percentage will rise to 250% by the end of the year 2050.
However, there is a wrong conception that transportation of cargo by ships emit low pollutants. But it has been accounted that this statement is wrong, as the harmful emissions from the ships are substantial across the globe. Due to substantial privileges in the taxes, the shipping industry is continuously contributing to marine pollution. Environmentalists have predicted that a commercial cruise ship leaves triple carbon footprints due to emissions of approx 15 gallons of toxic chemicals every day.
Dunnage, plastics, packing materials, cleaning rugs, food waste, paper products, and remnants of paints, chemicals, and solvents are some of the garbage and wastes that are generated on the ships and enhance marine pollution. It is high time that these wastes from the ships should be properly handled. Maximum efforts should be given to waste management and reduction to have a safe and free of pollution marine ecosystem.
Ways to Stop Marine Pollution by Ships
There are innumerable effective ways through which we can prevent pollution in the oceans by the operation of the ships. The first and most important preventive measure is that all the operators of the shipping industry need to put the garbage and wastes in proper segregation and stowage procedures for different types of waste materials. They should stick to the regulations by MARPOL and maintain the policy of zero dumpings during their fleet.
All the wastes and hazardous chemicals from the ships should be disposed of in an ecologically friendly dumping center to minimize ocean pollution. Garbage like metals, waste oils, medical waste, metal, glass, batteries, sludge and many more like this should be given away or incinerated to the reception facilities at the shore. Compactors should be used to decrease the waste materials and plastics that can be compressed.
Shipping companies should ensure that the entire vessel should comply with the 2013 amendments of the MARPOL to Annex V. Newer techniques should be incorporated to separate the glass from the mercury and other metals. The companies should also reduce the production of oil wastes and oily sludges. Usage of treated and clean oil or fuel should be mandatory for an environmentally friendly and lesser generation of sludge.
Moreover, for the better performance of the OWS, it is always better to install emulsion breaking filters by the separators. The Environmental Management System (EMS) should be maintained by every ship that would decrease waste production and enhance the standards for waste management. The ships should always follow the policy of zero discharge into the waters. Marine operators and shipping organizations should constitute, prepare and implement a proper plan for recycling and management of the wastes during their voyage on the sea.
Papers should be reused and dunnage like cardboards can be employed for covering other materials. Waste Oil, Old grease, and other oil-based products should be utilized as alternative lubricants. Garbage bags made of plastic should be replaced by biodegradable bags for disposal of the waste food materials. This type of bag can be used for storage purposes also.
Ships also emit harmful gases through air emissions due to the usage of colossal usage of energy. All incandescent and halogen lights should be replaced with LED bulbs that will consume less energy on all marine vessels. Lamp crushers should be used for the glass bulbs recycling that will separate the mercury and the metal caps from the glass.
Batteries should either be recycled through special devices that would separate Lead, Cadmium, and Lithium or should be disposed of in an approved facility for the reception at the shore. These are some of the most notable measures that can decrease ocean pollution due to the operation of the ship vehicles in the sea.
Policies to Control Marine Pollution by Ships
The different types of policies that are taken by various countries to control marine pollution due to ships are as follows:
- Marine Environmental Protection Committee (MEPC) is created to downsize and control the wastes that are generated in the maritime operations.
- In May 2009, environmentally sound and safe recycling of ships has been widely accepted in the Hong Kong International Convention. Due to this policy, a remarkable improvement in the waste management and recycling of ships has been observed.
- IMO conventions like MARPOL Annex 5 have announced guidelines and regulations for proper management of garbage in the onboard marine vessels.
- MARPOL also inspects that all the shipping organizations adopt the necessary approach for precaution including the discharge of wastes into the sea.
- The GloBallast Partnership Project is formed to look after the reduction of the transfer of the potentially toxic pathogens from the ballast water of ships.
- Global Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre is created to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases from the shipping sectors.
- Reports of GESAMP on microplastics have created a lot of awareness for the litters done by the ships in the ocean.
Slowly the shipping companies have also started to understand the importance and inevitability of protecting the ecosystem of the oceans. The ship managers and the captains are should engage in the interactive sessions with the crew members for creating awareness about the stowage segregation and proper handling of waste generated. With proper implementation and adoption of the above-mentioned ways, marine pollution can be controlled.