The European Commission has launched a long awaited public consultation on port reception facilities, an important step as part of the review of Directive 2000/59 which has the potential to significantly prevent ship waste dumping.

The European Commission has launched a long awaited public consultation on port reception facilities, an important step as part of the review of Directive 2000/59 which has the potential to significantly prevent ship waste dumping.

The Commission has been reviewing the Directive on port reception facilities for several years now and is seen as the key European legislative act that can further encourage ships to deliver their waste at port rather than choosing to dump at sea.

Traditionally, the dumping of oily waste has been the biggest concern to the marine environment and according to the latest GESAMP report, ships still account for 45% of the estimated average annual input of oil entering the marine environment. Large, accidental spills might receive the most attention but the continuous discharge of oil due to ship’s operational activities and the illegal discharge are also major concerns.

Dumping of garbage at sea is also a major concern with 5 million pieces of marine litter entering into the marine environment each day thought to come from shipping and fisheries.

The review of the Directive must ensure that amendments are made so as to remove disincentives to dumping waste sea. A suite of measures is required though central to such an objective is to have in place a more harmonized system across Europe, where facilities are adequate enough to receive all waste streams and where reception facilities can meet the demand of a growing shipping sector. Equally, removing the economic disincentives to use of PRFs is crucial in order to deter rogue operators from choosing to dump waste at high sea.

Photograph by Carole White

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