The "Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter 1972" (the "London Convention") was one of the first global conventions to protect the marine environment from human activities and has been in force since 1975. Its objective 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. Currently, 86 States are Parties to this Convention.
In 1996, the "London Protocol" was adopted to modernize the Convention and, eventually, replace it. The London Protocol entered into force in March 2006 and currently has 38 Parties. Under the Protocol all dumping is prohibited, but Parties may issue permits to allow the dumping of the following specified materials, subject to certain conditions:
- dredged material;
- sewage sludge;
- fish wastes;
- vessels and platforms;
- inert, inorganic geological material (e.g., mining wastes);
- organic material of natural origin;
- bulky items primarily comprising iron, steel and concrete; and
- carbon dioxide streams from carbon dioxide capture processes for sequestration (CCS).