Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter
- Type: Convention
- Date of signature: 29/12/1972
- Place of signature: London, United Kingdom
- Depositary: Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
- Date of entry into force: 30/08/1975
What is it about?
Under this Convention, State parties agree to individually and collectively promote the effective control of all sources of pollution of the marine environment and pledge to take all practicable steps to prevent the pollution of the sea by the dumping of waste and other matter that is liable to create hazards to human health, to harm living resources and marine life, to damage amenities or to interfere with other legitimate uses of the sea. The Convention establishes a list of waste for which dumping is prohibited, (including mercury, crude oil, radioactive waste, etc.) and requires a specific permit for some materials (arsenic, lead, copper, zinc, pesticides). All other wastes can be dumped under a general permit. Each Contracting Party designates an appropriate authority or authorities to issue general permits. The present Convention does not cover ship waste or waste resulting from the exploitation of the seabed, nor does it cover waste dumped in internal waters of State parties. State parties are required to incorporate the provisions of the 1972 Convention into their national laws. This instrument has been amended on five occasions: - The two Amendments of 12 October 1978 prohibit the incineration of trash in the sea and institute new procedures for dispute settlement under the 1972 Convention; - The Amendment of 24 September 1980 lists the substances that require a special permit; - The Amendment of 3 November 1989 address rules related to the issuance of a dumping permit; - The Amendment of 12 November 1993 prohibits the dumping of radioactive waste; - The London Protocol adopted on 8 November 1996 is a re-write of the original text and may substitute itself for the 1972 Convention.
Why is it relevant?
By becoming party to this Convention, States protect their coasts and marine environment from pollution resulting from the dumping of dangerous products and sea incinerations. The Convention provides for the preservation of important economic sectors such as fishing and tourism. State parties may also benefit from technical assistance.
State parties are required to incorporate the provisions of the 1972 Convention into their internal law and to apply them to all violations that occur up to 200 miles of their coast. Flag states are required to pursue ships that commit illegal dumping ininternational waters (after 200 nautical miles). The International Maritime Organization assures the Secretariat of the London Convention of 1972. In 2003, 81 States representing 85% of the world fleet had ratified the Convention of 1972.
- Protocol of the International Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter (London, 7 November 1996)