Waste management planning process

Port Waste Management Planning for Ship Generated Waste – Oil and Garbage



Waste minimisation and recycling

Summary of DETR’s eight step process for waste management planning in ports and harbours

Port Waste Management Planning for Ship Generated Waste – Oil and Garbage

The production of waste management plans in ports and harbours presents the most effective means of minimising and avoiding the potential effects of operational and illegal discharges of oil and garbage from ships on the marine environment. Since January 1998 it has become a statutory requirement on all ports and terminals, including any facility capable of transferring people or goods between water and sea. This includes marinas, yacht harbours, boat building yards and public slipways. This will be achieved through the provision of adequate reception facilities that encourage the disposal of wastes in ports and terminals, and remove as far as is practical any incentives for illegal discharges at sea, reducing the amounts entering the marine environment. However, the extent to which the management of ports and harbours can reduce the amounts of garbage and oil entering the marine environment from ships is limited. Accidental spillages and discharges from ships do happen and despite the consequences of not following the regulations, such as heavy fines and damage to a company’s image, illegal discharges continue. The regulation of such spills and discharges from ships is the responsibility of the MCA, not the port.

Most of the main ports and terminals located within or near marine SACs have developed and been operating waste management plans on a voluntary basis for a number of years. As a result of these voluntary plans the adequacy of waste reception facilities in UK ports and harbours has been addressed and in many cases improved. Although there has been some considerable progress in the voluntary development and implementation of these plans, in order to encourage and enforce further improvements, in January 1998 it became mandatory for ports and terminals to produce a report to Government on how they plan their port waste reception facilities. Based upon best practice shown in UK ports and harbours during the voluntary implementation of waste management plans, DETR have prepared guidelines ‘Port waste management planning - how to do it’ which promote an eight-step waste management planning process, summarised overleaf (DETR 1998).

RYA and BMIF have also produced a Port Waste Management Plan for recreational boat users and the leisure boating industries (RYA & BMIF 1998) based on the governments guidelines. They follow a similar eight-step approach adapted for facilities at landing places. The guide promotes the production of waste management plans tailored to meet the specific requirements of users, for example if a landing place caters for mainly dingys, windsurfers and canoeists, then facilities only need to be provided to meet the needs of those users.

Waste management plans for ship and boat generated waste also generally incorporate the management of waste generated and transported within the port and harbour area. In order to minimise levels of garbage entering the marine environment ports and harbours advise that rubbish must not be disposed of overboard or from the quayside. Most garbage items can be easily transported and disposed of into waste reception facilities. As good practice in marine SACs there are a number of simple considerations that might be incorporated in the waste management process which are:


In addition to statutory consultees, ports and harbours should consider consulting with local representatives from country conservation agencies to improve their understanding of waste management planning and the measures taken by ports and harbours to minimise the potential impacts of wastes on the environment. Although long-term adverse effects on marine species and habitats are unlikely to occur from operational discharges from ships and boats in ports and harbour areas, where there is evidence of such affects in a marine SAC consultation with country conservation agencies should allow them to be addressed, where appropriate, within the waste management process.


To ensure that reception facilities are fully used ports and harbours provide information to all mariners on the location, cost and procedures for using the facilities available and consultation arrangements for comments and complaints. In order to increase the awareness in port users, waste contractors, ships’ agents and those working in the port area of the nature conservation importance of the site in which they operate, summary information on the marine SAC should be provided in the waste management plan. A brief description can be given of the SAC and the features for which it has been designated, with particular reference to habitats and species in the site which are known to be sensitive to impacts of pollution from ship and boat generated wastes, such as the sensitivity of marine mammals to plastic litter.

Waste minimisation and recycling

In most ports, the operation of waste facilities is carried out by contractors properly approved by the local environment agency and the local authority. They have the expertise and capability to develop the efficiency of the waste system, and the motivation to do so. Most ports and harbours encourage the responsible management of waste, including waste minimisation and recycling, at the point of generation, transportation and disposal. However, the management of waste onboard ships and the extent to which waste is minimised at source, is clearly a matter for ship operators and owners who are now being required to produce waste management plans administered through the MCA port state control mechanism, not the ports.

Recycling is the waste management technique which has the potential for the greatest measurable reduction in a ship’s garbage waste-stream (ICS 1998). The feasibility of promoting recycling of ship and boat generated wastes landed in ports and harbours should be considered to determine whether it presents a practicable environmental option and does not incur excessive costs or result in a loss in the ease of use of the facilities, an important consideration emphasised by Lord Donaldson (‘Safer ships, Cleaner Seas’). Some ports, harbours and marinas provide recycling facilities for ship and boat generated garbage (such as paper, plastic, cans, bottles, engine oil and batteries) and ship and boat users are encouraged to separate out their wastes as far as is practicable. Oily waste (sludge) is recycled in most UK ports and harbours, in many cases generating revenue whist reducing the amounts for disposal and hence disposal costs. A partnership approach to recycling schemes is likely to be the best way forward. Information and advice can be sought from local authorities, the local waste industry, country conservation agencies and those involved in estuary management planning.

Summary of DETR’s eight step process for waste management planning in ports and harbours - What questions need to be answered in the port waste management plan?

Consult with interested parties

The consultation process is fundamental to the production of effective waste management plans and all ports must consult with representatives of port users, local MCA and EA, and where relevant with the port health authority, local authority, MAFF and those responsible for estuary management planning.

Who are the individuals and organisations consulted, what method of consultation was used, what were the consultees comments and how have they been addressed?

Analyse the estimated amounts and types of waste generated

How many vessels of different types used the port in the last two years and how many are expected to use the port in the next two years?

What amounts of different wastes were actually landed by ships using the port in the last two years?

What are the estimated maximum amounts of waste that should have been landed over past two years and that might be landed in next two years? (assuming that all ships use waste reception facilities for the disposal of all wastes that can not legally be discharged at sea)

How much waste is stored on board ships using the port for disposal outside the port area?

Consider if the type and capacity of facilities are adequate

What types of waste reception facilities are provided at the port for the collection of different wastes and how much waste can they hold?

Is their capacity adequate for the amounts of wastes that are actually landed in the port or the maximum amounts of wastes that should be landed?

Consider if the location and ease of use of facilities provide a disincentive to the use

What is the location of reception facilities in the port and what conditions or arrangements are imposed for their use?

Based on consultation, does the location of facilities or the arrangements for their use act as a disincentive to landing waste?

Consider if the cost of facilities provide a disincentive towards use

What method is adopted to charge for the use of different reception facilities?

Based on consultation, do these charging methods act as a disincentive to the use of reception facilities and why were other methods of charging were not considered appropriate?

Indirect charges for the use of reception facilities through port dues or contracts covering the use of facilities over a fixed period are considered unlikely to act as a disincentive towards use. However, garbage wastes are more suited to direct charging methods than wastes that involve large volumes or high levels of toxicity, such as oily wastes, where a direct charge is more practicable.

Ensure that effective publicity is given to the facilities

Are users aware of the location of waste reception facilities and how to use them?

What information is provided to ships on the location and operation of waste reception facilities?

How is this information is transmitted to users (particularly new and irregular users)?

Submit a written plan to Government

Initial draft plans to be submitted to local MCA offices for approval by the end of September 1998.

All approved plans will be held in Southampton office of the MCA.

Review the planning process regularly

The waste management process will be reviewed every two years from the time the first plan is approved.

It may be necessary to review the plan in the meantime, if substantial changes in operation or legislation take place

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