With growing national emphasis on environmental issues, the Navy is taking steps to seize the initiative, including changes in its at-sea operations to protect such marine mammals as the endangered right whale.
During the 1990s, environmental protection became an integral part of naval operations afloat. No longer a concern solely of shore installations, environmental considerations today play a major part in shipboard routine and in the planning and execution of all operations at sea. As former Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Frank Kelso noted in an all-Navy message, "Protection of the natural environment is mission imperative. . .Environmental protection and mission performance are inextricably linked."
The Navy has made significant progress in reducing many forms of vessel pollution. Shipboard hazardous material use is carefully managed to minimize the amount of waste generated. Surface ships are receiving solid-waste processing equipment that will allow for more convenient onboard retention of all plastic waste, and make paper, metal, and glass discharges more easily assimilable in the marine environment