As of May 1, 2009, ships will no longer be allowed to dump waste into the Mediterranean. The new rules, announced by the United Nations Environment Programme, ban the dumping of "all plastics, including but not limited to synthetic ropes, synthetic fishing nets and plastic garbage bags" as well as "all other garbage, including paper products, rags, glass, metal, bottles, crockery, dunnage (loose material used in ship storage), lining and packing materials." While this is certainly good news, the more burning question is, why were ships allowed to dump garbage into the Mediterranean until now?
It turns out that the measures "had been suspended for years to allow for improvements to inadequate garbage collection facilities in ports around the sea's coasts." Hopefully those improvements have been made, and the new measures will actually be enforced. Still, it's hard to believe that dumping of this kind has been legal for so long. . .
See Also: ::Cargo Ship with Kites: First Trans-Atlantic Trip a Success!, ::Fuzzy Math Leads to a (Serious) Reevaluation of Shipping's Climate Impact, ::Shipping's CO2 Record Not So Shipshape, After All, ::VBS.tv Sails Out to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, ::It's Still Garbage, But At Least It's a Hybrid!, ::The Garbage Project, and ::Pop Quiz: I'm the Trashman