Oceana demands that Balearic Port Authority prove compliance with London Convention on marine pollution

Four lower-impact management measures should have been evaluated for Mahón harbour before deciding to dump dredged wastes into the sea.

Press Release Date: March 22, 2013

Location: Madrid


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Oceana has requested that the Port Authority of the Balearics (APB) prove that the works for dredging Mahón harbour comply with the London Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter.

This convention, which entered into force in Spain in 2006, requires an examination of waste management options. This assessment must show that due attention has been paid to the established hierarchy of these options.

According to this hierarchy, before dumping dredged waste from Mahón harbour into the sea, four lower-impact management options should have been evaluated, in the following order: (1) Re-use; (2) Recycling; (3) Destruction of hazardous materials; and (4) Treatment to reduce or withdraw hazardous materials. Dumping should only be considered as a last resort, after these alternatives.

“Given the growing concerns about this dumping, we ask that the APB prove to citizens that it has considered all available waste management options, as required by law”, said Xavier Pastor, Executive Director of Oceana in Europe. “Polluted muds cannot be dumped into the sea without first considering other measures which have a lower impact on the marine environment, people’s health, fishing activities, and tourism in Minorca.”

A clear example illustrating the existence of alternatives for the dredging works in Maó harbour is the project for the decontamination of 800,000 m3 of muds polluted by heavy metals and radioactive substances in the Flix reservoir (Catalonia). The dredging in Minorca is approximately one-fourth of the amount to be decontaminated in Flix (200.000 m3), and would therefore involve a lower effort.

Learn more about the project

Oceana has photographs and video images of the affected seabeds