Government pressed to ratify pact to combat ocean pollution
- Katherine Adraneda () - February 18, 2010 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Environment groups have asked the Philippine government to immediately ratify the agreement and develop a national enforcement plan to combat ocean pollution.

This, as public and private stakeholders under the sponsorship of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in partnership with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and International Maritime Organization (IMO) come together for a three-day workshop in Pasay City about the “London Protocol,” which bans dumping and incineration at sea.

Manny Calonzo, president of the waste and pollution watchdog EcoWaste Coalition, said the Philippine government must “expeditiously ratify” the London Protocol and come up with a national implementation plan that will protect the sea and marine environment from deliberate waste disposal.

“We hope that the Philippines’ ratification of the ‘London Protocol’ will also see the country leading the fight to protect the oceans from dumping and other potentially toxic human activities such as ship sinking, breaking and recycling,” Calonzo said.

“The ratification should likewise elicit open, informed and meaningful debates and consultations on any plans to manipulate or geo-engineer the oceans to ‘fix’ climate change,” he added.

According to EcoWaste, the 1996 London Protocol to the 1972 London Convention (or the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter) went into effect in 2006, and will in time replace the Convention the Philippines ratified way back in 1973. 

A total of 37 countries have ratified the London Protocol.

Citing information from IMO, EcoWaste said the London Protocol prohibits all dumping, “except for possibly acceptable wastes and substances on the so-called reverse list” and subject to the observance of certain guidelines.

It also said the London Protocol further bans altogether the practice of incineration at sea, except for emergencies, as well as prohibits the export of wastes or other matter to non-parties for the purpose of dumping or incineration at sea.

EcoWaste said the London Protocol integrates the precautionary and “polluter pays” principles that are essential in preventing the oceans from turning into depositories for damaging materials and contaminants.

EcoWaste said the precautionary principle is enshrined in Article 3 of the Protocol, which requires that, “appropriate preventative measures are taken when there is reason to believe that wastes or other matter introduced into the marine environment are likely to cause harm even when there is no conclusive evidence to prove a causal relation between inputs and their effects.”

Moreover, EcoWaste said the same article states that, “the polluter should, in principle, bear the cost of pollution,” further stressing that contracting parties should ensure that the Protocol should not simply result in pollution being transferred from one part of the environment to another.

CONVENTION THE PHILIPPINES DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES DUMPING OF WASTES AND OTHER MATTER INTERNATIONAL MARITIME ORGANIZATION LONDON LONDON CONVENTION LONDON PROTOCOL MANNY CALONZO PROTOCOL
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