Disposal at sea is regulated through the following international and regional instruments:
- The 1972 Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter known as the London Convention;
- The 1996 Protocol to the London Convention known as the London Protocol;
- The 1976 Convention for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea Against Pollution known as the Barcelona Convention, amended in 1995; and
- The 1976 Protocol for the Prevention and Elimination of Pollution of the Mediterranean Sea by Dumping from Ships and Aircraft or Incineration at Sea known as the Dumping Protocol .
- The 1995 amendments to The 1976 Protocol for the Prevention and Elimination of Pollution of the Mediterranean Sea by Dumping from Ships and Aircraft or Incineration at Sea known as the Dumping Protocol
In Malta, disposal of waste at sea can only take place at the spoil ground located 35O 55.1’ N, 014O 34’E (outside the Grand Harbour- figure below), and such an activity is regulated by ERA through the Waste Consignment Note Procedure. Only disposal of certain wastes is allowed, and this is subject to meeting given criteria and obtaining the required permits, from the Authority.
Construction and demolition activities as well as dredging activities, substantially contribute to the amount of waste dumped at sea (see Table below).
|Inert Waste |
Dredging in Malta
Dredging is the removal of material from the seabed, usually for maintenance of fairways for navigation of vessels or the development of port facilities. To date, disposal of dredged material in Malta has been at sea.
If not properly managed, dredging can have significant environmental impacts associated with the dredging process itself as well as with the disposal of dredged material. During both activities, impacts may arise as a result of loss or disturbance of benthic habitats, an increase in turbidity, changes in water currents (or hydrographical conditions), and release of contaminants accumulated within the dredged sediments, all of which can negatively affect water quality and marine ecosystems at the dredged and disposal locations.
The fate of dredged material depends on the level of contaminants present in the sediment. In this context, prior to any dredging activity, a sampling plan shall be submitted to the Authority, for approval, in line with ERA’s Terms of Reference for the Management and Disposal of Dredged Material V.3.
The transfer of dredged material for the purposes of disposal at sea or disposal on land in a local non-hazardous landfill is subject to the Consignment Permit and Note Procedure.