Ocean disposal of obsolete government ships is currently being justified by what proves to be a series of faulty economic analyses and traditional assumptions. What is true is that artificial reefing and SINKEX involve the ocean dumping of toxic waste with the underlying motivation being the cheap disposal of such waste. The secondary motives of national security, in the case of SINKEX, or fisheries enhancement, in the case of reefing, are upon second examination, faulty or overstated. Ocean disposal simply moves waste and any harm stemming there from one area of the environment to another, not a clear act of
distribution and cost externalization. At the same time it loses forever, critical resources and jobs. These economic costs are scuttled just like the pollution, overboard.
The notion that our seas are vast enough and our natural world resilient enough to act as our dumping ground has long passed. We know now that contaminants do not assimilate
innocuously into the environment but in fact are often persistent (as in PCBs), or immortal
contaminants do not just diffuse, but rather bioconcentrate and contaminate the marine food chain for years to come.
Our old ships need to be managed in a more rational, sustainable and economic manner than has been our habit. By prioritizing cost internalization through environmentally sound recycling here at home, the government can create the win win win scenario of protecting the environment, stimulating the economy and creating U.S. jobs.
We urge the government as a matter of obligation to taxpayers and future generations to reconsider future ocean disposal plans and choose recycling over ocean dumping.
BASEL ACTION NETWORK