It is estimated that in the Asia–Pacific region the cost of marine litter to marine industries is a minimum of €1.26 billion per year, including losses from tourism, entangled ship propellers and time lost for fishing (McIlgorm, A., et al., 2008). In the EU, it has been suggested that the cost for coastal and beach cleaning is about €630 million annually (Acoleyen, M., et al., 2013; Werner, S., et al., 2016).
Preventing pollution, especially plastics from entering the environment, requires focused efforts on behaviour change (for example, reducing reliance on single-use plastics), improvements in waste management and developing a more sustainable life cycle for wastes such plastics. The steps to improve poor systems of waste management or mismanagement of waste rely on quantifying the scale of the problem and the sources of plastics leakage and other wastes into the system. This quantification had not happened. Gaps in local capacity, as well as details of infrastructure and management systems needed to be quantified and linked to the leaked waste in order to adequately deal with the issues.
In 2018, CLiP contracted Asia Pacific Waste Consultants (APWC) to carry out a review of the adequacy of waste reception facilities at targeted international and domestic ports in Vanuatu. The aim of the review was to collect information on ship-generated waste, port reception facilities and waste reception handling plans, and to develop recommendations to reduce the leakage of ship-based sources of waste into the environment.
It was important to determine how much ship-generated waste is produced in Vanuatu waters, how much is appropriately disposed, and how much is lost to the environment. To effectively review ship-generated waste in Vanuatu, the types and frequency of vessels at the port of Port Vila, Port of Santo and a number of domestic ports were explored as well as a review fishing intensity in Vanuatu waters. In preparation for the review and analysis, several activities were carried out in advance of the in-country port visits. In November 2018 APWC conducted a literature review which included;
- Institutional framework including current legislation and gaps
- Ports and receival facilities
- Port management and governance and
- Waste transport and logistics.
Extensive stakeholder engagement was also conducted in unison with the literature review and in county audit. Stakeholders engaged include;
- Port authorities
- Environment Ministers
- International Maritime Organisation
- Australian Maritime Safety Authority
- Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme
- Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency
An overview of the waste reception services provided at the two international ports, identified gaps in the service with reference to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), and outlined recommendations on how these gaps can be addressed. The findings were prepared in accordance with the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Guidelines for Ensuring the Adequacy of Port Waste Reception Facilities as outlined in Resolution MEPC.83 (44).
The review found that there are three main groups of port and shipping activities requiring focus if all waste types generated through shipping are to be effectively managed. These are:
- International ships conducting port calls that primarily involve inbound/outbound movements with modest time in ports and the EEZ
- International/national flagged fishing vessels that spend considerable time in the EEZ with or without port calls
- The large domestic fleet that ferries goods and people through Vanuatu
These three groups are important given their size and their potential to pollute through poor waste management practices. It was important to determine how much ship-generated waste they produce in Vanuatu waters, how much was appropriately disposed, and how much was lost to the environment. Gaps in data and infrastructure were quantified and addressed, and increased efforts given to capacity building and awareness.
Estimates found approx. 13% of waste generated over 350 ships birthed at Port Vila and Santo is landed. The assessment found reception facilities for oily wastes and sewage to be less than satisfactory at both ports, disposal methods are in general not in accordance with best practice. Garbage disposal is satisfactory at the port of Port Vila and unsatisfactory at the Port of Santo.
Noting the challenges faced by Vanuatu and many other Pacific island countries in providing adequate waste reception facilities for ships, recommendations were made in order to:
- Improve waste reception facilities at each port location
- Assist to meeting obligations under international, national and local laws
- Minimise the leakage of ship-based sources of waste into the environment.
The recommendations found include;
- Develop a National Port Reception Facility Waste Management Plan
- Extend waste requirements for international shipping to include domestic shipping
- Link to existing maritime training and regional initiatives
- Improve arrangements for waste management for international and domestic shipping
- Improve data collection for shipping waste in Vanuatu waters
- Consider the effectiveness of Regional Port Reception Facility Arrangements
- Improve waste management reception facilities for oily waste, sewage reception and garbage management and disposal