All forms of debris (rubbish) including plastic bags are finding their way into the sea waters and ending up again on coastlines causing filth and are also an environment and safety hazard within maritime ports.
“Plastic bags are the main components of what we collectively refer to as ‘debris’ and indeed is a big problem environmentally and safety wise for all port users,” Acting Managing Director, Mr. Stanley Alphonse said.
Marine debris is a form of pollution which may be defined as any persistent solid material that is manufactured, processed and directly or indirectly, intentionally or unintentionally, disposed of or abandoned into the marine environment.
Debris includes derelict fishing gear, land discarded gear and beach litter of which includes plastics.
As reflected by a survey carried out recently by PNGPCL’s Occupational Health, Safety & Environment Department (OHSE), plastic waste dominated the debris samples collected and comprises a significant portion of the total city solid waste.
The report also shows that solid waste is increasing each day due to increase in population, developmental activities, changes in lifestyle and socio-economic conditions.
Mr. Alphonse said the report may not necessarily reflect the actual level of plastic pollution within the Port Moresby Port precinct as more monitoring and data collation may be required for one to comfortably establish trends.
“However, it is indicative of a level that should attract attention for control and management by all key stakeholders including PNGPCL, National Capital District Commission (NCDC), National Maritime Safety Authority (NMSA), National Fisheries Authority (NFA), NGOs and other port facility users,” he said.
Debris pollution affects the resident flora and fauna in the water body within the precincts of maritime ports, and also impacts on human health and safety of port workers and users and the wider community exposed to the maritime port.
Therefore, PNGPCL, since 2013 has taken some steps to keep its coastline and the Port Moresby Port precinct rubbish free as these areas have been affected badly by rubbish from nearby coastal villages such as Hanuabada, Tatana Island, Wanigela, Vabukori, Roku and Kirakira which are within the declared port limits.
PNGPCL via its PNG Harbour Management Services Division (PNGHMS) continues to liaise with community leaders to carryout awareness which is in line with PNGPCL’s 20 years corporate strategic plan and provide rubbish bins to the coastal villages along the declared port of Port Moresby.
The PNGPCL Fleet and Property Department also engages a local contractor to clean the coastlines and around the wharf areas on a regular basis.
“PNGHMS is also supporting World Vision PNG with its four years WASH (water and sanitation hygiene) program outreach to the coastal villages within the Port Moresby declared port limits,” Chief Maritime Compliance Officer and Port Manager, Hane Kila said.
“We have plans to partner and work closely with our stakeholders in NCDC, NFA, NMSA, NGOs, and port facility operators and also the communities themselves to participate in the program,” she said.
PNGPCL’s report also recommended the procurement and deployment of debris booms but require financial assistance from key stakeholders and potential investors as the booms are expensive.
PNGPCL acknowledges NCDC who have agreed to work closely with PNGPCL as they are responsible for collecting rubbish and disposing the rubbish at the appropriate location(s).