Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter

At a Glance

  • Full NameConvention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter (London Protocol)
  • Adoption:7 November 1996
  • Entry into force:24 March 2006

The London Convention contributes to the international control and prevention of marine pollution by prohibiting the dumping of certain hazardous materials. In addition, a special permit is required prior to dumping of a number of other identified materials and a general permit for other wastes or matter.

"Dumping" has been defined as the deliberate disposal at sea of wastes or other matter from vessels, aircraft, platforms or other man-made structures, as well as the deliberate disposal of these vessels or platforms themselves. Annexes list wastes which cannot be dumped and others for which a special dumping permit is required.

Later adopted amendments banned the dumping into sea of low-level radioactive wastes. In addition, the amendments phased out the dumping of industrial wastes and banned the incineration at sea of industrial wastes.

The Contracting Parties to the London Convention and Protocol have recently taken steps to mitigate the impacts of increasing concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere (and consequently in the marine environment) and to ensure that new technologies that aim to engineer the climate, and have the potential to cause harm to the marine environment, are effectively controlled and regulated. The instruments have, so far, been the most advanced international regulatory instruments addressing carbon capture and sequestration in sub-sea geological formations and marine climate engineering such as ocean fertilization.