Plastics - BIMCO Bulletin


TECHNOLOGY AND EFFICIENCY | PLASTICS November 2018 Now is the time to act on plastics The Ocean Cleanup sees its first deployed system as a beta test to prove the technology. The second iteration will prepare the operation for the full-scale roll-out of 58 systems. By Rasmus Nord Jrgensen, Communications Director at BIMCO C arbon and sulphur emissions are the top environmental issues of the day, but plastic waste in the oceans has become a major concern over the last few years, with multiple global NGOs and the UN addressing the problem. Most significantly in the summer of 2018 The Ocean Cleanup deployed its first system to tackle the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP), watched by the worlds media. And it is a problem. The world produces around 300 million tonnes of plastic every year and some 8 million tonnes of that make their way to the oceans, according to the American expert professor Jenna Jambeck (et al). With the slow degradation of plastics, and microplastics infiltrating the marine food chain, it is a problem that is growing fast and with widespread consequences for marine and human life. In BIMCO we recognise this problem as relevant and important to everyone alive and to future generations, and we want to do our part as the largest shipping industry association, says BIMCO President, Anastasios Papagiannopoulos. The world produces around 300 million tonnes of plastic every year and some 8 million tonnes of that make their way to the oceans watch an animated explanation of The Ocean Cleanup technology: The Ocean Cleanup estimates there are 79,000 tonnes of plastics in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch alone. More than three-quarters of the GPGP mass was carried by debris larger than 5cm and at least 46% comprises fishing nets. Microplastics account for 8% of the total mass but 94% of the estimated 1.8 trillion pieces floating in the area. By removing the larger pieces, the Ocean Cleanup Project aims to prevent it from breaking down into dangerous microplastics. In addition to the accumulated plastic debris in the five ocean gyres, we will need to stop the influx and not continue to worsen the problem, says The Ocean Cleanup Public Affairs Ambassador, John Murray, who emphasises that the plastics problem must be tackled from multiple angles. Shipping contributes to problem It has been illegal for ships to dump plastic waste into the ocean since 1989, and the commercial maritime industry is not one of the primary sources of such pollution. But there are areas where shipping can do better. While the discharge into the sea of all plastics is generally prohibited through MARPOL Annex V, marine plastic pollution is an ongoing problem that requires further consideration to prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds by 2025, Secretary-General Kitack Lim, of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), told the 73rd session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee. An all-too common problem for ships is lack of correct handling of the waste once it is delivered in port According to a report from 2015, published by UN-advisory body GESAMP, which IMO is a sponsor of, the three main factors where shipping contributes to the plastics issue are: cargo waste, most often disposed of accidentally waste disposal handled incorrectly, either due to inadequate storage facilities on board or lack of reception facilities in ports microplastics, as routine cleaning of ship hulls using plastic abrasives results microplastics being released directly into the ocean. BIMCO responds During the past six months, BIMCO has tried to address the issues, partly via the IMO, which looked at the plastics problem at the Marine Environmental Protection Committee 73 in October. An all-too common problem for ships, which have been adhering to the waste disposal rules, is lack of correct handling of the waste once it is delivered in port. BIMCO, along with the International Chamber of Shipping, Intertanko and the World Shipping Council, has proposed to IMO that the industry needs a new action plan that adequately addresses the entire process of plastic rubbish handling and ensures that landed refuse is managed in a sustainable manner once ashore. Alongside the action plan, a study will be conducted on marine plastic litter from all ships including macro and microplastics to gain a better understanding of the subject. The investigation will identify the sources that add to marine plastic litter, including the contribution from the ships grey water. Connect with BIMCO Facebook Twitter Linkedin YouTube