An assessment of the level of understanding regarding issues of marine pollution regulations in respect of waste management (Annex V) in the port of Port Elizabeth
Mizzi, Mandisa Illuminate
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Background. Considering the experience of the Port of Port Elizabeth where waste volumes discharged from ships dropped drastically at the time when disposal tariffs had been increased due to a regional crisis, the question arises whether the waste that was supposed to be discharged in Port Elizabeth was instead dumped at sea. Objective. The integrated waste management framework was used as a basis to evaluate the level of understanding of the requirements of the International Marine Pollution (Annex V) regulation and South African waste management legislation within key stakeholders (Government, port and ship personnel) that have a crucial role to play over ship to port waste stream. Considering that the individual's level of understanding is in tacit form, which could be difficult to measure, the investigation focussed on responses received and the application of that understanding as reflected by various intervention strategies, such as processes, procedures and practices put in place as means of complying with legislation. Both ship and port side practices were investigated to assess the effectiveness of the above-mentioned intervention strategies across all waste management functional areas as outlined in Figure 1. This included an assessment of the application of a waste management hierarchy in Figure 2, availability of an audit trail (record of waste management strategies implemented en route), clear allocation of responsibility, and capacity building so as to confirm or rule out the possibility of illegal dumping at sea, in light of the Port of Port Elizabeth's experience and also to form a good basis to make recommendations towards future improvements. Sampling. A sample comprising 66.6% of the ships that called during daytime in the Port of Port Elizabeth, during the month of August 2003 were chosen randomly for interviews. Key role-players from the government and port were also interviewed as means of verifying facts around waste management practices from ship to port including legal enforcement issues. Results. It seemed as though the shipside clearly understands legal requirements and there are indications that they attempt to adhere to those however, due to the lack of enforcement, they have adopted casual stance as reflected by waste logbooks that are incompletely filled and some outdated. There seems to be more chaos on the portside since government authorities that are supposed to enforce legislation including the directive they issued on galley waste management, have a fragmented as opposed to holistic approach whereby each department understands and sticks to it's scope, leaving gaps in between that if allowed to continue unaddressed could result in toothless legislation. Conclusion. Due to the lack of visible legal enforcement, it is not possible to rule out the possibility of illegal dumping. The incompletely filled waste logbooks are the only reliable means of verifying that all waste generated on board the ship was indeed handled in a responsible manner and accounted for or not.