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An Analysis of the International Maritime Organization–London Convention Annual Ocean Dumping Reports

Oceanography

  1. Christine Dickenson,
  2. Iver W. Duedall

Published Online: 15 JUL 2005

DOI: 10.1002/047147844X.oc1881

Water Encyclopedia

Water Encyclopedia

How to Cite

Dickenson, C. and Duedall, I. W. 2005. An Analysis of the International Maritime Organization–London Convention Annual Ocean Dumping Reports. Water Encyclopedia. 4:144–149.

Author Information

  1. Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Florida

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JUL 2005

Abstract

Trends are analyzed for types and quantities of permitted wastes, primarily dredged material, sewage sludge, and industrial waste, to be dumped at sea by member countries to the London Convention (LC) from 1992 and 1995 through 1998. In 1972, the Inter-Governmental Conference on the Dumping of Wastes at Sea led to the creation of the London Dumping Convention (now called the London Convention) to help regulate the dumping of wastes at sea. The act of dumping, as defined by the LC, is international disposal at sea of any material and in any form, from vessels, aircraft, platforms, or other artificial structures. The first consultative meeting of the LC contracting parties was held in 1976 by the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization [now called the International Maritime Organization (IMO)]. During this meeting, the procedure for the reporting of permits issued, on an annual basis, for dumping at sea by contracting parties, was determined. The IMO-LC annual reports on permitted wastes list the number of permits issued by member countries, the types and quantities of wastes permitted for dumping at sea, and the location and designation of dump sites. Now with nearly 25 years of dumping records available, we are able to see trends in permitted dumping activity. In 1976, the first year of permitted dumping records, the combined amount of permitted wastes was nearly 150 million tons. In the last four years (1995 through 1998), where data are available, the total amount of wastes permitted to be dumped by the LC contracting parties as between 300 and 350 million tons. Currently, a majority of these wastes are being disposed of in the East Asian Seas and the North Sea and the largest quantity of waste being dumped is dredged material. Although the disposal of wastes at sea is considered to be a major issue, it is only responsible for about 10% of the total anthropogenic contaminants entering the ocean. Unfortunately, the long-term impacts of this dumping in the ocean are still largely unknown.

Keywords:

  • dredged material;
  • east asian seas;
  • gulf of mexico;
  • IAEA (international atomic energy agency);
  • incineration at sea;
  • industrial wastes;
  • international maritime organization;
  • land disposal;
  • london convention;
  • london dumping convention (see london convention);
  • north sea dumpsite;
  • ocean disposal and dumping sites;
  • pollutant sources in the ocean;
  • radioactive waste disposal at sea;
  • sewage sludge;
  • u.s. ocean dumping