Space debris and the marine environment
Material jettisoned during space vehicle launches could impact on the marine environment. This is one of a number of emerging issues being discussed by Parties to the treaties which regulate the dumping of wastes at sea. The Scientific Group of the London Convention and London Protocol is reporting on its ongoing assessment of the issue of space debris to the annual meeting of the Parties (5-9 November). The meeting is also looking at the disposal of fibre-reinforced plastic (FRP) vessels, since a large number of abandoned or no-longer usable FRP vessels – including fishing vessels and leisure craft – are dumped at sea each year, possibly due to a lack of land-based disposal facilities.
Other items on the agenda include providing input to the IMO Action Plan to Address Marine Plastic Litter from Ships, and the ongoing review of the specific guidelines for assessment for dumping of platforms or other man-made structures at sea. The 40th Consultative Meeting of Contracting Parties to the London Convention and the 13th Meeting of Contracting Parties to the London Protocol was opened by IMO Director Hiroyuki Yamada on behalf of Secretary-General Kitack Lim. The chair is Mrs. Azara Prempeh (Ghana).