Incineration alternative economical

Incineration alternative economical

Marine Pollution Bulletin Meanwhile in the USA a group of senators, led by Albert Gore of Tennessee, is putting pressure on the Bush administration n...

242KB Sizes 2 Downloads 135 Views

Marine Pollution Bulletin

Meanwhile in the USA a group of senators, led by Albert Gore of Tennessee, is putting pressure on the Bush administration not to approve the mining convention. A resolution passed by the Senate called for a new Antarctic agreement which would establish the continent as a "global ecological commons". Although the resolution has no legislative powers the Senate's support is critical as the President is unable to enforce any international agreement without the backing of two-thirds of the Senate•

dose is based on the known physical and chemical properties of the substance being evaluated. The Commission will shortly incorporate the new provisions in the annexes to its directive on the classification of dangerous substances. Phasing out of the LDs0 test is part of the EC's broader initiative to encourage rationalization between regulating bodies and to standardize international guidelines for toxicity tests. The move has been welcomed by the RSPCA and other animal welfare groups although it has profound practical implications for the chemical industry. However industry representatives have approved the EC's interim phasing-out period which allows the results of both the fixed dose and LDs0 tests to be acceptable for the time being.

Toxicity Testing--Change in Procedure In the wake of several years of protests from animal rights groups and other organizations, the European Commission is to take the first steps towards phasing out the LDs0 test. The EC has agreed to accept data from an alternative fixed dose procedure for the purpose of classifying dangerous chemicals and has expressed a wish that all OECD member countries will now also accept this form of testing. The LDs0 test (LD=lethal dose) involves determining the median concentration of a given substance which is lethal to 50% of a test population of organisms after continuous exposure for a fixed time. The fixed dose technique, developed originally by the British Toxicology Society, examines how a set dose of a chemical affects a small group of animals. The administered


Incineration Alternative Economical The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food's first annual report on the disposal of waste at sea reveals that replacing sewage sludge disposal at the Thames and Mersey dumping grounds with incineration would require capital expenditures which are trivial in relation to the total investments planned by water companies over the next few years. The report provides an outline of licensing and enforcement of industrial waste, sewage sludge and dredged sludge disposal at sea during 1986 and 1987. MAFF's enforcement officers carried out


•- .

"Oil, litter, g u m m e d - u 0 sea birds, offensive smells, radiation ~ m a nuclear p o w e r station--let's send a ~Nish-you-were-hera' card to the Environment Ministerl"




" "7.

Volume 20/Number 12/December 1989

142 inspections of wastes in England and Wales during this period. Sailings of liquid industrial waste alone totalled 800 over these two years. The report also provides details of studies carried out to determine the 'best practical environmental option' for the disposal of sewage sludge generated in the Mersey and Thames catchments. These areas account for 1.7 and 4.3 million tonnes respectively of the 7.0 million tonnes dumped annually from England and Wales. North-West Water's plans to improve its sewage treatment facilities in the Mersey area will result in an increased amount of sewage sludge earmarked for dumping at sea. The review of land-based options shows that transferring the entire sludge load to landfills or agricultural land would be expensive and create significant environmental impacts. Incineration is identified as being the best option both economically and environmentally. By switching the present sludge load from dumping in Liverpool Bay to incineration the capital investment involved would be £ 1.8 million while annual operating costs would rise from £2.3 million to £5.1 million. These costs are seen as negligible when set alongside the sum of £17 billion which the water industry plans to spend on improvements over the next few years. As pressure mounts for the UK to end its sludge dumping operations at sea following the agreement reached by the North Sea States in 1987 (see Mar. Pollut. Bull 19, 2) these figures serve to show that a practical landbased option to sea dumping could be made available. However, proposals to build incinerators for Liverpool's sludge made twice in recent years have been blocked by strong local public protests.

More Measures to Curb North Sea Pollution Measures to increase the protection of the North Sea against pollution have been unanimously adopted at a one-day meeting held on 17 October at the International Maritime Organization's (IMO) headquarters. The meeting was of IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) expanded to include all Contracting Parties to the Convention. The measures adopted involve amendment to Annex V of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships 1973, as modified by the Protocol of 1978 relating thereto (MARPOL 73/78). The Convention, which has been accepted by 57 countries whose fleets represent 85.7% of world merchant shipping tonnage, deals with various types of pollution, including that posed by oil (Annex I) and bulk chemicals (Annex II). Annex V is concerned with the prevention of pollution by garbage (see also Mar. Pollut. Bull. 20, 52). It completely bans the disposal into the sea of plastics and strictly regulates the disposal of other rubbish such as food wastes, glass, paper, metal cans, etc. Participating Governments, for their part, must provide facilities in ports where garbage can be received. These measures have now been further strengthened in a number of so-called 'Special Areas', identified as

being environmentally-sensitive and which include the Mediterranean, Red Sea, Black Sea, and Gulf Area. The North Sea was also declared a 'Special Area' at the same MEPC meeting. The amendments to Annex V mean that in addition to plastics, there will be a complete ban on the disposal of dunnage (lining and packing materials that will float) and waste materials that have not first been ground-up. The ban on dumping of ground-up wastes is extended from within 3 miles to 12 miles off land. In addition to ships, Annex V also covers offshore activities which means that these provisions apply to platforms and drilling rigs involved in exploitation of North Sea energy resources. The amendments are expected to enter into force on 18 February, 1991 under the 'tacit acceptance' provisions of MARPOL 73/78, which state that any amendments will enter into force on a given date unless they are rejected by a specified number of Contracting Parties. The tacit acceptance procedure is used in MARPOL and other IMO Conventions to ensure that technical changes are introduced as quickly as possible.

Pollution Alert off South African Coasts The 268 467 t dwt oil tanker Pacificos caused a pollution scare in early October when it leaked an estimate of between 2000 and 10 000 t of crude oil off the coast of South Africa. The 15 year old tanker, which was fully laden with Saudi Arabian crude bound for Brazil, was caught in heavy seas and a crack, which apparently occurred in a ballast tank, extended through to the cargo tank resulting in the loss of 200 m 2 of hull plating on the ship's port side. The crew of the tanker helped to stem the leak by transferring 6000 t of crude from the damaged cargo tank to other parts of the ship. The heavy seas at the time, while preventing an accurate assessment of the damage, helped to break up the main slick estimated to cover an area of about 39 kill 2 and sited 128 km off East London, South Africa. As the threat of pollution to the coastline receded plans were made to transfer the 260 000 t of crude oil from the Pacificos to another tanker. The American Bureau of Shipping, which classed the ship, have started investigations to try to establish the cause of the damage and if structural damage proves to be the cause of this incident the bureau will want to examine other ships built to a similar design which it has also classed.

Treaty to Protect the Arctic Eight Arctic countries have started discussions on an initiative to create a Treaty for the protection of the Arctic region. Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the USA, and USSR recently met at Rovaniemi in Finland and have agreed, as a start, to survey existing data on the Arctic. Willingness has also been shown by the countries to undertake further environmental research to analyse the general state of the environment so that the most appropriate political 591