Key international marine environment protection convention celebrates 40 years of progress.
The use of the world’s oceans as a dumping ground for harmful wastes has been systematically regulated and reduced under the terms of an international convention that, this year, celebrates 40 years since it was first adopted.
The "Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter, 1972", usually referred to as the "London Convention", was one of the first global conventions designed to protect the marine environment from human activities. It has been in force since 1975.
The objective of the London Convention is to promote the effective control of all sources of marine pollution and to take all practicable steps to prevent pollution of the sea by dumping of wastes and other matter. Currently, 87 States are Parties to it.
In 1996, the "London Protocol" was agreed, to further modernize the Convention and, eventually, to replace it. Under the Protocol, all dumping is prohibited, except for possibly acceptable wastes on the so-called "reverse list". This includes dredged material, sewage sludge, fish wastes, inert, inorganic geological material (e.g. mining wastes), organic material of natural origin, and carbon dioxide streams from carbon dioxide capture processes for sequestration. The London Protocol entered into force on 24 March 2006 and currently has 42 States Parties.
The contracting Parties to the 1972 London Convention (and its 1996 Protocol) will meet at the London headquarters of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), from 29 October to 2 November 2012. During this meeting they will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention, which took place on 13 November 1972.
Forty years after its adoption, the London Convention and its Protocol are still providing a relevant and important framework within which the international community is tackling key issues surrounding the protection of the marine environment.