As IMO’s MEPC 76 came to an end, Gard Club highlights that plastics in the ocean remains a global problem and requires action from all.
he commitment to reduce plastic waste will need to come from the top in the organisation as this is not a matter that can be handled by a single department within a company or the vessel alone.
Shipowners and managers should consider the products being procured in terms of the garbage they will generate. In other words there needs to be a reduction at source and this in turn would result in lesser amounts for crew and ultimately the shore facilities to manage and process.
…as the club noted.
According to Gard, owners and managers will need to establish policies addressing this topic. A first step is to investigate how much plastic garbage their vessels generate and which type of operations are contributing the most.
Feedback from crew will be needed and should be welcomed. Finally, there needs to be a dialogue with the suppliers of ship stores, particularly with respect to plastic packaging.
When considering reduction at source, the starting focus must be single use items such as cutlery, plates, straws, cups, bottles, bags as well as plastic packaging. Single use plastic is a majority of the material that is polluting our oceans and harming wildlife.
Some options to consider are:
- using supplies that come in reusable or recyclable packaging and containers;
- using supplies that come in bulk packaging, taking into account factors such as adequate shelf-life (once a container is opened) to avoid increasing garbage associated with the products;
- taking care to manage any plastic once on board including educating crew to the effect of plastic waste on sea creatures should litter accidentally escape the vessel.