Tuesday, 9 June 2009

U.S. Coast Guard Roles in Environmental Protection

The Unites States Coast Guard is a military branch of the U.S involved in maritime law, mariner assistance, and search and rescue, among other duties of coast guards elsewhere. Its stated mission is to protect the public, the environment, and he U.S. economic and security interests in any maritime region, including international waters and America's coast, ports, and inland waterways. They have a broad and important role in homeland security, law enforcement, search and rescue, marine environmental pollution response, and the maintenance of river, intra-coastal and offshore aids to navigation. They worked together with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Debris Program. NOAA warns of dangerous weather, charts seas and skies, guides the use and protection of ocean and coastal resources, and conducts research to improve understanding and stewardship to he environment. Marine Debris is any persistent solid material that is disposed of or abandoned into the marine environment or the great lakes. It is a global problem affecting the environment, economy, human health, safety, and marine life. The NOAA Marine Debris Program serves as a centralized marine debris capability within NOAA in order to coordinate, strengthen, and increase the visibility of marine debris issues and efforts within the agency, its partners, and the public. This Program is undertaking a national and international effort focusing on identifying, reducing, and preventing debris in the marine environment. Additionally, the MDP supports and works closely with various partners across the U.S. to fulfil the Program's mission. The U.S. Coast Guard helps in providing the facilities and equipments during the clearing of marine debris by NOAA and the volunteers.

USCG is also involved in curbing illegal fishing that threatens to destroy the fish sanctuary or overfishing. They have several zones that are categorised by no fishing, seasonal fishing, and free fishing. They also have close eyes for illegal fishing vessels including those from other countries which fishes in the U.S. waters. USCG plays a significant role in protecting the humpback whale from illegal whalers and any other elements that can threaten this endangered species. However, there is a contradiction in what they do by protecting the super ferry which was threatened by activists from entering Hawaii. The super ferry itself was threatening to the whales as it uses the same route of the whale's migration. Other than that, USCG also responses on the oil spill threats whether by clearing a spill or curbing the spill from happening by taking all the oil in the vessels that are going to sink or got stranded.

1 comment:

  1. You certainly got that right. The Coast Guard helped break the law when it defended the superferry in Hawaii. When local residents peacefully protested the superferry, the US Coast Guard protected superferry operations which were being conducted without an Environmental Impact Staement, even after the Supreme Court ruled that an EIS was needed.