Protection of the marine environment
Controlling marine pollution
in The law of the sea
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The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea identifies six sources of marine pollution. They are: pollution from ships (such as discharges of oil, noxious chemicals, sewage, garbage and ballast water containing invasive species); the dumping of waste by ships and aircraft; pollution resulting from exploitation of the continental shelf for petroleum and minerals; pollution resulting from the exploitation of the mineral resources of the Area, that is the seabed beyond the continental shelf (see further chapter twelve); pollution from sources on land; and pollution from or through the atmosphere. The Convention itself contains no detailed measures to control pollution from the six sources that it identifies. Instead, the international community has adopted a substantial network of global and regional treaties for this purpose, including treaties designed to curb emissions of greenhouse gases The latter are causing the oceans to warm, sea water to become more acidic and sea levels to rise, all of which are harming the marine environment. This chapter outlines the standards to control marine pollution that have been set by the various treaties for each source of pollution; explains how they are implemented and enforced; and assesses how effective they have been. The chapter also considers the response required of States where a pollution incident has occurred, as well as the question of compensation for damage caused by marine pollution.


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