Reducing Marine Litter from Sea-Based Sources
It is essential that ships and fishing vessels bring their operational waste and gear back to land instead of dumping it illegally into the sea, where it affects the marine environment.
Improved waste management regulations and services in ports, for example port reception facilities and transparent cost recovery structures, as well as information and training of staff and ships can make a difference to reduce marine litter from such sea-based sources.
The fishing communities also play a significant role: Often, fishers catch plastic waste while working at the sea. So called Fishing for Litter approaches encourage the fishing communities to collect and discharge this waste on land instead of in the ocean. This works through incentives, connection to recyclers and providing information on marine protection. ‘Rethinking Plastics’ cooperates with various partners on identifying good practices and finding new solutions for Fishing for Litter as well as for Port Waste Management and draws upon European experiences.
Reducing marine debris with the fishery sector
“The sea is not a rubbish tip,” says Charoen Tohaitae, the community leader of Ban Nai Thung, a fishing village on Thailand’s coast. “We don’t throw litter into the open water or leave our old fishing nets out there – the sea is our livelihood.”
Fishing for Litter in Hainan
All over the world, waste is thrown into the ocean. It moves around freely, without geographical boundaries. Here, it is no-one’s responsibility, but everyone’s problem. Therefore, a globally shared sense of responsibility is needed to protect the marine environment. And it is precisely this feeling of universal ownership that convinced fishermen in the Chinese Hainan Province to join our green and sustainable initiative: when fishing at sea, fishermen collect the plastic bottles, disposable tableware and other rubbish entangled in their fishing nets, and bring it back to the port for disposal. After a while, the fishermen were so engaged in this voluntary "Fishing for Litter" programme, that the initial targets were overfulfilled.
WHAT HAVE WE ACHIEVED IN 14 MONTHS?
1. Fishermen who make a difference
In the early stages of this initiative, many fishermen, fishery associations and port management agencies were skeptical: could a fishermen’s individual collection make a difference to the marine environment? And would the marine litter be treated appropriately onshore? Together, we discussed answers and solutions for these questions and soon a few trusted fishermen joined us. Step-by-step, more people came aboard. By the end of the project, 62 ships with 400 fishermen had joined. Together, they collected more than 1 tonne of waste in just a few months. Every day, they brought rubbish to the fishing port, where it was categorised by sanitation workers. The recyclables entered the recycling system, while the remaining waste was moved to municipal waste treatment facilities. The fishermen participated voluntarily, but received points for the waste collected, which they exchanged against products for daily use such as toilet paper, laundry detergent, jackets or lights used on the ship. And they reported a new sense of ownership of marine ecology and environmental protection: instead of just casually throwing garbage into the sea, they now actively practice "no littering in the sea" and share this with others.
Improving Ship Waste Management in Chinese Commercial Ports
No fewer than even out of the ten largest seaports worldwide are in China. Shanghai and Tianjin ports are among them, and handle 2.4 million ships every year. Ships in operation generate waste such as oils, garbage (plastic), sewage and other hazardous materials. The management of this waste has become more and more important when it comes to the protection of the marine environment. Too often, ship waste ends up in the ocean. Research at the Tianjin port revealed that only 20-30% of incoming ships unload their waste onshore. There are a number of reasons for this, and European experience shows that often the lask of economic incentives for waste delivery together with unclear roles and responsibilities plays an important role.
To promote the reception and correct disposal of ship waste at Chinese ports, we recommended adapted standards and best practices from European ports to the Shanghai and Tianjin ports. We summarised our experiences and submitted our suggestions and policy recommendations to relevant government departments for replication and thus for greener and more competitive ports throughout China.
WHAT HAVE WE ACHIEVED IN 14 MONTHS?
1. Better planning for improved ship waste management
All waste related processes – such as collection procedure, processing capacities, responsibilities, requirements and contact points – were assessed at the ports of Shanghai and Tianjin. We identified the inconsistencies and made suggestions that were based on ship waste management in European ports. Among the suggestions, we recommended making waste notification mandatory for ships before arrival, and to establish clearer roles and responsibilities. Based on this, both ports developed a ship waste management manual. In Shanghai, a ship sewage reception facility was built; while in Tianjin, a hazardous waste operator signed an agreement to collect and treat all oily waste. This and other transition systems ensure the proper handling of ship waste on land. We compiled our experiences and disseminated these to other ports in China to show how ports can receive and process all pollutants from ships in an environmentally safe and cost-effective way.
Ship Waste Management 2.0
Illegal discharge from shipping and other maritime activities pollutes the marine environment. But it’s not only marine animals and plants that suffer – ultimately, people also feel the effects.
Improving Ship Waste Management in Philippine Ports
Waste from ships accounts for 20% of plastic litter in the ocean. But it’s not only plastic that gets disposed of at sea: ships often dump some of the oil, sewage and hazardous materials that they generate and transport.
Clean Fishing Ports
Loading and unloading, washing and cleaning, buying and selling. Tegalsari port is a hive of activity, and one of the busiest coastal fishing ports on Java Island. With more than 700 fishing vessels entering and leaving every day, work is intense – and it creates a lot of waste that can pollute the ports and the ocean.
Ecorangers Tackling Marine Litter
Ahmed Muzaqi used to step over endless piles of waste on his way to work. Old fishing nets, plastic bottles, metal poles, old newspapers – tonnes of litter had been washed on shore. And yet this was only a fraction of what could be found floating out at sea.
Improving Ship Waste Management in Chinese Commercial Ports
No fewer than even out of the ten largest seaports worldwide are in China. Shanghai and Tianjin ports are among them, and handle 2.4 million ships every year. Ships in operation generate waste such as oils, garbage (plastic), sewage and other hazardous materials.
Engaging the Fishing Community in Plastics Collection
Ong Huyunh Duy Tung is a fisherman in Phu Yen. When hauling in his nets, he finds more and more waste every day. He worries:
A Better Ship Waste Handling in Vietnamese Ports
Oils, plastic packaging, sewage and hazardous materials – ships produce and transport a lot of waste. If ship after ship dumps their waste into the water, the consequences for animals, plants and humans are catastrophic. Thus, an efficient and reliable waste management system must be in place on land and crews need to know what to do with their waste.
Plastics make up 85% of beach litter;
single use items represent 61%
and fishing related items 20% of these plastic items.
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Bangkok Port: New Online System for Better Ship Waste Management
Bangkok, 1 September 2022 - Waste dumping into the oceans, How can we stop? Thailand is amongst the countries with the biggest amount of plastic waste leakage into the oceans worldwide. While most marine litter comes from land, marine activities such as increasing ship traffic also contribute to the increasing amounts of litter in the ocean for example through illegal dumping. In the past two years, the Port Authority of Thailand and the project “Rethinking Plastics – Circular Economy Solutions to Marine Litter” project, funded by the European Union and the German Government and implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and Expertise France, took steps forward to implement solutions against illegal ship waste discharge by improving the ship waste management system at Bangkok Port. The pilot activity implementation in Bangkok Port also included Chula Unisearch, Energy Research Institute of Chulalongkorn University, Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI) and 1st Biz Solution company limited.
Together, the partners assessed waste management regulations and services in the port and designed and implemented an online Ship Waste Notification and Management System (WNMS). It requires ships to notify the amounts of waste transported by the ship calling the port before arrival, facilitating waste handling and inspection procedures at the port and also improving waste data collection under supervision of the port. On 1st September, the partners publicly presented the new online system and other results during the Closing Ceremony of their joint activities at Sala Thai Ballroom, 5th Floor, Bangkok Marriott Marquis Queen's Park and Bangkok Port. The event gathered more than 60 participants from respective sectors, interested in solutions for a better Ship Waste Management.
Save the date, 27 September: Rethinking Plastics Regional Closing Event
Ready for the journey? Only together can we navigate towards a future free from plastic pollution. On 27 September 2022, Rethinking Plastics warmly invites interested participants to attend the hybrid regional project closing event and join us on a journey along solutions, lessons learnt and results to reduce and prevent marine plastic litter now and in future.
Recap: Wasteless Wednesdays Session 2
The second session of our Wasteless Wednesdays Series on 15 June covered the exciting question 'From Raising Awareness to Changing Behaviour - How to Encourage Citizens to join the Circular Economy for Plastics' - in collaboration with the PREVENT Waste Alliance. Find here all presentations and the recording of the session.