Marine litter and pollution have severely damaged the marine environment. Although land-based source contributes about 80% to marine litter, sea-based sources must also be taken into account to directly maintain the marine environment and indirectly protect human health. Marine litter and pollution increase acidity of oceans, chemical contamination of the food chain, and death of marine animals. Thus, provision of reasonably cost-effective port waste reception facilities should be promoted to reduce sea-based marine pollution.

The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) has proposed restrictions on waste discharges from ships at sea. The convention contains annexes that introduce the need to provide port waste reception facilities for certain types of waste without causing undue delays to ships: Annex I for oil and oily water, Annex II for noxious liquid substances in bulk, Annex III for harmful substances carried by sea in packaged form, Annex IV for sewage from ships, Annex V for garbage from ships, and Annex VI for air pollution from ships. MARPOL emphasises that port waste reception facilities must have a range of adequacies: the facilities must be enough to accommodate all wastes from ships, not create undue delays for vessels that use them, contain enough information so that the ships’ authorities are aware of their existence and are encouraged to use them, and developed regionally to establish cooperation with other ports within a country. The authorities must ensure that technological requirements of reception facilities are followed in accordance with end disposal and residues management. In general, reception facilities must provide three main services: waste receptacles, collection facilities, and recycling and/or final disposal facilities. The three facilities must be capable of handling all wastes. For receptacle facilities, adequate size, space, and number are required to accommodate seasonal variation of waste disposal demand.

After ratifying MARPOL Annex V, the Government of Indonesia issued Presidential Decree No. 46/ 1986, which requires the provision of waste storage facilities in ports. The Ministry of Transportation released Decree of Minister of Transportation on Procurement of Waste Collection Facilities from Ships No. 215/1987, which obliges the ports of Belawan, Tanjung Priok, Tanjung Perak, and Makassar to set up reception facilities starting 1 April 1988. Setting up reception facilities in Indonesian ports, however, faces challenges. In Belawan port, the reception facilities still do not have a permit to operate, thus overall waste management cannot be performed optimally. In Tanjung Priok port, some vessels remain unserved as a result of late notification which, based on regulation, must be served at least 2 days before the arrival date. The port is sometimes full of  Indonesian Army ships, hampering waste transporter ships from quickly unloading wastes. The Makassar port has yet to establish port waste reception facilities. So far, its oil wastes are collected by private companies.

Singapore enacted the Prevention of Pollution of the Sea (Reception Facilities and Garbage Facilities) Regulations in 1991, requiring every port in the country to have adequate reception facilities that can accommodate wastes. Compared with other countries, Singapore has the biggest MARPOL Annex I reception facilities with advanced technologies, mainly established to tackle oil and oily wastewater. The facilities consist of two main treatments: oil sludge and slot treatment, both operating at high capacity. Singapore works with the Government of Indonesia and the Government of Malaysia in providing a port reception facilities booklet for the Straits of Malacca and Singapore. The booklet provides information about reception facilities within the area, such as prior notification for ships, communications, types of facility, and waste capacity.

Waste reception facilities are not only essential for ports on oceans and seas but also on rivers. For instance, the Mekong River passes through China, Myanmar, Lao PDR, Thailand, Viet Nam, and Cambodia. As a trans-boundary river, the Mekong River has fundamental roles in transporting people and cargo to support international trade and tourism. In Viet Nam, about 73% of cargo is transported by water. Inevitably, high traffic on the Mekong River leads to ship-generated wastes, which consist of bilge water, domestic and operational wastes, and cargo-related wastes. Unfortunately, the river has no waste reception facilities or waste management guidelines. Thus, liquid and solid wastes generated from shipping activities are disposed into the river and then carried away by wind or waves to distant locations.


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