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Author: Richa Vyas, IV year of BA.LLA (Hons.) from VIT Law School, Chennai Campus

In this current work, the writer has elaborated upon the history of the protocol. The marine dumping is also explained in the work which is combined with the waste that has been accepted in the current times under Annexure 1 of the London Protocol. Parties who agreed to control dumping with the aid of enforcing regulatory programmers to evaluate the want for, and the capability effect of, dumping are also been discussed in the article along with the potential benefits for being an active member of the London Protocol. Last but not least the article also throws some light upon the difference that the Protocol to the Convention of the Prevention of Marine Pollution by dumping of wastes and other matters, 1996 makes in the Sea government action for the world.

A basic difference: a convention is a formal agreement between states and is usually an instrument negotiated under an international organization whereas a protocol is one of how a convention can be modified. The amendments done in the protocols are not binding on all the states that have ratified the first/original convention.


The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) is considered to be a pioneer convention for marine waste. SOLAS was enacted in 1914 in response to the Titanic disaster. Most relevant to marine pollution issues, SOLAS's 1978 Protocol was adopted at the International Conference on Tanker Safety and Pollution Prevention which requires tankers carrying crude oil and other products to have substantial protection against spills. Another treaty, The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution of the Sea by Oil. This Convention came into force on December 8, 1961, and addressed pollution resulting from routine tanker operations and ships' discharges of oily wastes. The Convention prohibited discharges of concentrated quantities of those substances inside 50 miles of land and recommended events to offer centres to address and deal with ships oily wastes.

One of the most important general international marine pollution treaties is the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter (the London Convention). The parties to the London Convention debated making the convention even more protective. The 1996 Protocol to the Convention, was designed to replace the 1972 London Convention and would reverse the 1972 presumption that dumping is allowed. It opted for a precautionary approach, and forbid ocean dumping of anything unless the parties to the Convention specifically allow such dumping. Another Protocol to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) 1978. The international convention focused on the prevention of pollution from ships caused by operational or accidental causes. It was adopted at the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

“Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter 1972"

The "London Convention" or “LDC” for brief is one of the first worldwide conventions to defend the marine surroundings from human sports and has been under pressure since 1975. The London Convention includes 22 Articles and 3 Annexes. Its goal is to sell the powerful management of all assets of marine pollutants and to take all attainable steps to save you pollutants of the ocean through dumping of wastes and different matter. Actions must be taken without delay to protect and preserve the marine environment and to manage human activities in such a manner that the marine ecosystem will continue to sustain the legitimate uses of the sea and will continue to meet the needs of present and future generations.

The London Protocol consists of 29 Articles and three Annexes. At present 87 States are Parties to this Convention. India is not a signatory to the convention. The Protocol entered into force on 24 March 2006 and there are currently 53 Parties to the Protocol. A "black- and grey-list" technique is implemented for wastes that can be taken into consideration for disposal at sea in step with the risk they give to the environment. For the blacklisted states, gadget dumping is prohibited. Dumping of the grey-indexed substances calls for a unique allowance from a designated countrywide authority along with strict control and supplied sure situations are met.

Protocol to the Convention of the Prevention of Marine Pollution by dumping of wastes and other matter, 1996

In November 1996 a special meeting of the contracting parties to the London Dumping Convention 1972 (LDC) adopted a new Protocol. The protocol is to protect "the marine environment from all sources of pollution". This is to be done by placing more restrictions on dumping and clarifying ambiguities in the law. The Protocol tackles several important issues. The relatively permissive approach to dumping under the LDC has become more restrictive. The definition of pollution has been reformed and abandonment as a form of dumping is given fresh consideration. Besides, the precautionary approach and polluter pays principle are developed and exceptions to the general prohibition on dumping have been redrawn, as have the basic requirements for the granting of approval to dump.

The most notable aspect of the definition of pollution in the Protocol is that there is one. Pollution was not defined in the LDC.[1] The definition in the Protocol, on the other hand, is very clear and very broad and will lead to a potentially increased level of responsibility for the effects of pollution being placed on parties to the Protocol. The definition of dumping has also been modified to expand the number of activities caught by it. In addition to those caught by the definition found in LCD. It now covers the storage of waste in the seabed and subsoil and, more importantly, "abandonment and toppling at the site of platforms and other manmade structures at sea".[2]


According to Article 1 (4) of the London protocol, the definition of marine dumping is explained. 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. Marine dumping can destroy or degrade important habitats for aquatic species and cause coastal erosion and salutation, which affect the health and productivity of the marine environment.

The Convention has a global character and contributes to the international control and prevention of marine pollution. It prohibits the dumping of certain hazardous materials, requires a prior special permit for the dumping of several other identified materials and a prior general permit for other wastes or matter.

Nevertheless, waste resulting from exploring and using natural resources on the seas is omitted. Even, where the protection of human life or vessels is necessary in cases of force majeure, the clause of that Convention shall not apply. Among other requirements, Contracting Parties undertake to designate an authority to deal with permits, keep records, and monitor the condition of the sea.

London Convention and London Protocol Contracting Parties have also developed advice for:

1. management of cargoes that have spoiled on-board vessels,

2. placement of artificial reefs, and

3. Best management practices for the removal of anti-fouling coatings from ships.

Under the Protocol, all dumping is now prohibited, except for the so-called "reverse list". "Generic Guidelines" and comprehensive "Specific Guidelines" have been developed for all wastes on the reverse list. This Directive includes step by step guidelines for the assessment of marine waste including waste management audits, alternate evaluation and waste characterization, and possible adverse environmental impact assessment of dumping, landfill site collection and surveillance and licensing procedures. For the promotion and implementation of these rules, training materials are available.


According to Annexure 1 of the London Protocol, certain wastes can be dumped into the marine water.

1. Dredged material;

2. Sewage sludge;

3. Fish waste, or material resulting from industrial fish processing operations;

4. Vessels and platforms or other man-made structures at sea;

5. Inert, inorganic geological material;

6. Organic material of natural origin;

7. Bulky items in most cases comprising iron, steel, concrete and in addition non-dangerous substances for which the priority is bodily impact, and confined to the one's situations in which such wastes are generated at locations, including small islands with remote communities, having no doable get right of entry to disposal alternatives apart from dumping; and

8. Carbon dioxide streams from carbon dioxide capture processes for sequestration.


Parties to the Convention agreed to control dumping with the aid of enforcing regulatory programmers to evaluate the want for, and the capability effect of, dumping. They removed the dumping of positive forms of waste and, gradually, made this regime extra restrictive with the aid of selling sound waste control and pollutants prevention.

1. They shall apply a precautionary approach to environmental protection from the dumping of wastes that are likely to cause harm even when there is no conclusive evidence to prove a causal relationship between inputs and their effects.

2. While implementing the provisions of the protocol the parties should not act in a manner which transfers, directly or indirectly, damage or likelihood of damage from one part of the environment to another or transform one type of pollution into another.

3. No provision of this Protocol shall be interpreted as preventing Contracting Parties from taking, individually or jointly, more stringent measures following international law concerning the prevention, reduction and elimination of pollution.

4. Contracting Parties shall prohibit incineration at sea of wastes or other matter. (Article 5)

5. Contracting Parties shall not allow the export of wastes or other matter to other countries for dumping or incineration at sea. (Article 6)


1. Prevention of marine pollution from dumping activities.

2. Access to annual meetings of Parties, where policy and regulatory aspects of dumping and protection of the marine environment are discussed.

3. Access to annual meetings of the Scientific Groups under the Convention and Protocol, where scientific and technical aspects of dumping and protection of the marine environment are discussed.

4. Membership of an agreement for control of all sources of marine pollution promotes finding the best overall environmental solution to specific problems and sustainable use of the oceans.

5. Enhanced protection of a State’s coastal zone and marine environment.

6. Access to technical assistance and experience of other Parties to aid marine environmental protection and capacity building.


The main development in the Protocol is that the list of things to be considered is far more comprehensive than the list contained in the LDC. Whereas Annex III to the LDC relates purely to the physical characteristics of the material being dumped and the site at which it is being dumped. Annexe 2 to the Protocol also details such things as the order in which waste-management options ought to be considered, the use of waste-reduction techniques [3] and the possibility of process modification.[4] It requires both an initial assessment of alternatives to dumping and a full assessment of the preferred option, which is to include consideration of certain listed factors.[5] The protocol does make a difference by further restricting the number of things that may be dumped, and increasing the requirements to be met and details to be considered before dumping may be permitted.


[1] LDC, Article 1 containing a general definition

[2] Protocol, Article 1

[3] Protocol; Annex 2, paras.2 and 5

[4] The HL Sixth Report, at pg.9, notes that in the UK a permit to dump will not be granted until the owners have demonstrated that they have examined all possibilities of reusing the structure and established that none of them is feasible, which goes at least partway to meeting this requirement.

[5] Protocol, Annex 2, paras.2 and 12-15