China's top legislature
ratified an international convention on Thursday to step up the protection of
the marine environment in China by banning the dumping of waste in the ocean.
The National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee's ratification of the
1996 Protocol on the Convention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Waste and
Other Matter concurs with the building of an environmentally friendly society
proposed by the country's 11th Five-Year Program (2006-2010), said Sun Zhihui,
director of China's State Oceanic Administration (SOA).
It also indicates China's resolution to manage the dumping of waste into the
ocean and presents an image of responsibility to the international community
regarding marine environment protection, he said.
The objective of the protocol is to protect and preserve the marine
environment from all sources of pollution.
China will further amend its marine dumping regulations including the
Regulations of the People's Republic of China on Control over Dumping of Waste
in the Ocean as soon as the protocol takes effect. China will also improve its
technical standards of marine dumping management, Sun said.
Dumping waste into the ocean has attracted global concern in the latter half
of the 20th century. In 1972, the Convention on the Prevention of Marine
Pollution by Dumping of Waste and Other Matter, generally known as the London
Convention, was passed and came into force in 1975.
The 1996 Protocol is intended to replace the 1972 Convention as it is much
more restrictive. It has introduced what is known as the "precautionary
approach", which requires "appropriate preventative measures to be taken when
there is reason to believe that waste or other matter introduced into the marine
environment are likely to cause harm even when there is no conclusive evidence
that they will."
It has also listed seven wastes or other matter which are not considered
dumping, including dredged material, sewage sludge, fish waste, vessels and
platforms, inert, organic material of natural origin and bulky items primarily
comprising iron, steel, concrete and similarly unharmful materials.
China has a large volume of dredged materials, and the need for dumping
vessels and platforms has been increasing in recent years, said Chen Yue, deputy
director of the international cooperation department under the SOA.
For the remaining five wastes or other matter, China disposes of them through
comprehensive utilization and recycling on the land, Chen said.
Statistics from the administration shows that by 2005, China had 98 dumping
sites and the major dumping wastes were dredged materials. The SOA carried out
surveys on 24 dumping sites and their surroundings last year.
The survey shows that the benthic environment of most dumping sites are quite
stable and the benthic diversity is not significantly affected by the dumping,
while some dumping sites show unusual benthic environment and the benthic
diversity is obviously decreasing.