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Ferries banned from dumping toilet waste in Baltic Sea

Staff writer ▼ | April 25, 2016
Ferries and ships will be banned from dumping toilet waste in the Baltic Sea, one of the world's most polluted bodies of water, the International Maritime Organization said.
Baltic Sea ferries
Protecting environment   The International Maritime Organization:
The ban will come into force in June 2019 for new passenger ships and two years later for older vessels, the IMO said in a statement.

In 2011 the IMO's Marine Environment Protection Commission (MEPC) moved to protect the Baltic Sea by designating it a "special area", but it has taken five years to agree the ban on waste tank discharging.

Sweden's infrastructure minister Anna Johansson welcomed the decision but said she regretted how long it had taken in the face of opposition from several coastal countries.

"The negotiations were long and sometimes difficult because many countries were against it," she said, declining to name nations that had opposed the deal.

Some countries had said there was insufficient infrastructure to deal with waste in the Baltic's ports.

The ban would help to promote "more sustainable shipping" and contribute to sustainable tourism, Johansson said in a statement on the Swedish government website.

"The discharge of sewage from passenger ships within the special area will generally be prohibited under the new regulations, except when the ship has in operation an approved sewage treatment plant," the IMO said in a statement.

Though the rules will not be compulsory straight away, the MEPC encouraged governments and industry groups to begin to comply immediately with the new guidelines.