1000 Flowers for the Planet - #352 Fight Against Sea Dumping
In 1972 it was agreed amongst a number of nations that sea dumping was not acceptable. Unfortunately the London Convention was not particularly broad and only covers deliberate disposal at sea of wastes from vessels, aircraft and platforms. It does not cover the disposal of waste from land using pipes and outfills, and there are a large number of countries around the world who control none of these things. Judging from the state of the oceans these days, one could be forgiven for thinking the convention hasn’t been all that successful.
The Great Barrier Reef has been under threat recently, with large ports and shipping lanes planned for the area, including dredging and dumping that could cause long term damage to the reef. There has been opposition to this dumping that may still be avoided. Check out www.fightforthereef.org for more information.
Surprisingly (and horrifyingly), the dumping of nuclear waste into the ocean was legal prior to the early 1970s, when it became ‘regulated’ (whatever that means). Yet still, radioactive waste, toxic waste, sewer sludge, chemical waste from factories and a huge amount of contaminated dredging waste containing heavy metals is dumped into the oceans, often illegally, but does the legality even matter anymore? The fact that pollutants are dumped into the ocean is one that should concern every human and every nation. The health of the oceans and our waterways determines our own health as toxins find their way from the bottom of the food chain into our own diets.
The ocean is not a giant disposal unit. It is not that magic place many people like to think exists, called ‘away’. When things disappear beneath the waves they don’t disappear altogether – they still exist, and they’ll find their way back to you one way or another. So take an interest in your health by taking an interest in the health of the oceans and participate in the fight against sea dumping.