CaribWorldNews, SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, Thurs. April 15, 2010: The discharge of garbage by ships in the wider Caribbean region will be prohibited as of May 1, 2011, following decisive action by the International Maritime Organization.
The decision was taken by the IMO`s Marine Environment Protection Committee at the organization`s 60th session on 22-26 March.
With the adoption of an MEPC resolution establishing May 1, 2011 as the date on which the Regulations for the Prevention of Pollution by Garbage from Ships Special Area regulations take effect in the wider Caribbean, this region becomes the 6th zone to be protected against the discharge of all garbage from ships, other than organic materials based on distance from shore and particle size.
Others include the Baltic Sea (effective since October 1989), the North Sea (February 1991), the Antarctic area (south of latitude 60 degrees south) (March 1992), the `Gulfs` area (August 2008) and the Mediterranean Sea (May 2009). The entry into force of the Special Area status in the Black and Red Seas, which have also been designated under the Annex V, is not yet effective.
Although the effective date is approximately one year from today, MEPC still calls on governments and industry to comply with the Special Area requirements as soon as possible.
The adoption of the resolution follows the notification at the same MEPC session by 22 Caribbean Parties to the MARPOL 73/78 Convention that sufficient adequate reception facilities for garbage are now provided in most relevant ports within the region.
In the wider Caribbean region, 25 countries are parties to MARPOL and its Annex V. This Annex prohibits the discharge of all plastics, but allows, under certain conditions, for the discharge of other types of garbage – such as dunnage, paper, lining, metal and so on – except in designated special areas.