Convention for the Prevention of Marine Pollution from Land-Based Sources
1. The Contracting Parties pledge themselves to take all possible steps to
prevent pollution of the sea, by which is meant the introduction by man,
directly or indirectly, of substances or energy into the marine environment
(including estuaries) resulting in such deleterious effects as hazards to
human health, harm to living resources and to marine ecosystems, damage to
amenities or interference with other legitimate uses of the sea.
2. The Contracting Parties shall adopt individually and jointly measures to
combat marine pollution from land-based sources in accordance with the
provisions of the present convention and shall harmonize their policies in
The present convention shall apply to the maritime area within the
(a) those parts of the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans and the dependent seas
which lie north of 36 deg. north latitude and between 42 deg. west
longitude and 51 deg. east longitude, but excluding:
(i) the Baltic Sea and Belts lying to the south and east of lines
drawn from Hasenore Head to Gniben Point, from Korshage to Spodsbjerg
and from Gilbjerg Head to Kullen and
(ii) the Mediterranean Sea and its dependent seas as far as the point
of intersection of the parallel of 36 deg. north latitude and the
meridian of 5 deg. 36′ west longitude;
(b) that part of the Atlantic Ocean north of 59 deg. north latitude and
between 44 deg. west longitude and 42 deg. west longitude.
For the purpose of the present convention:
(a) ‘maritime area’ means: the High Seas , the territorial seas of
Contracting Parties and waters on the landward side of the base lines
from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured and
extending in the case of watercourses, unless otherwise decided under
Article 16(c) of the present convention, up to the freshwater limit;
(b) ‘Freshwater limit’ means: the place in the watercourse where, at low
tide and in a period of low freshwater flow, there is an appreciable
increase in salinity due to the presence of seawater;
(c) ‘pollution from land-based sources’ means: the pollution of the
(i) through watercourses,
(ii) from the coast, including introduction through underwater or
(iii) from man-made structures placed under the jurisdiction of a
Contracting Party within the limits of the area to which the present
(iv) by emissions into the atmosphere from land or from man-made
structures as defined in subparagraph (iii) above.
1. The Contracting Parties undertake:
(a) to eliminate, if necessary by stages, pollution of the maritime area
from land-based sources by substances listed in Part I of Annex A to
the present convention;
(b) to limit strictly pollution of the maritime area from land-based
sources by substances listed in Part II of Annex A to the present
2. In order to carry out the undertakings in paragraph 1 of this Article,
the Contracting Parties, jointly or individually as appropriate, shall
implement programmes and measures:
(a) for the elimination, as a matter of urgency, of pollution of the
maritime area from land-based sources by substances listed in Part 1
of Annex A to the present convention;
(b) for the reduction or, as appropriate, elimination of pollution of the
maritime area from land-based sources by substances listed in Part II
of Annex A to the present convention. These substances shall be
discharged only after approval has been granted by the appropriate
authorities within each Contracting State. Such approval shall be
3. The programmes and measures adopted under paragraph 2 of this Article
shall include, as appropriate, specific regulations or standards governing
the quality of the environment, discharges into the maritime area, such
discharges into watercourses and emissions into the atmosphere as affect
the maritime area, and the composition and use of substances and products.
These programmes and measures shall take into account the latest technical
The programmes shall contain time limits for their completion.
4. The Contracting Parties may, furthermore, jointly or individually as
appropriate, implement programmes or measures to forestall, reduce or
eliminate pollution of the maritime area from land-based sources by a
substance not then listed in Annex A to the present convention, if
scientific evidence has established that a serious hazard may be created in
the maritime area by that substance and if urgent action is necessary.
1. The Contracting Parties undertake to adopt measures to forestall and, as
appropriate, eliminate pollution of the maritime area from land-based
sources by radioactive substances referred to in Part III of Annex A to the
2. Without prejudice to their obligations under other Treaties and
conventions, in implementing this undertaking the Contracting Parties
(a) take full account of the recommendations of the appropriate
International Organizations and agencies;
(b) take account of the monitoring procedures recommended by these
International Organizations and agencies;
(c) coordinate their monitoring and study of radioactive substances in
accordance with Articles 10 and 11 of the present convention.
1. With a view to preserving and enhancing the quality of the marine
environment, the Contracting Parties, without prejudice to the provisions
of Article 4, shall endeavour:
(a) to reduce existing pollution from land-based sources;
(b) to forestall any new pollution from land-based sources, including
that which derives from new substances.
2. In implementing this undertaking, the Contracting Parties shall take
(a) the nature and quantities of the pollutants under consideration;
(b) the level of existing pollution;
(c) the quality and absorptive capacity of the receiving waters of the
(d) the need for an integrated planning policy consistent with the
requirement of environmental protection.
The Contracting Parties agree to apply the measures they adopt in such a
way as to avoid increasing pollution:
— in the seas outside the area to which the present convention applies;
— in the maritime area covered by the present convention, originating
otherwise than from land-based sources.
No provision of the present convention shall be interpreted as preventing
the Contracting Parties from taking more stringent measures to combat
marine pollution from land-based sources.
1. When pollution from land-based sources originating from the territory of
a Contracting Party by substances not listed in Part I of Annex A to the
present convention is likely to prejudice the interests of one or more of
the other parties to the present convention, the Contracting Parties
concerned undertake to enter into consultation, at the request of any one
of them, with a view to negotiating a cooperation agreement.
2. At the request of any Contracting Party concerned, the Commission
referred to in Article 15 of the present convention shall consider the
question and may make recommendations with a view to reaching a
3. The special agreements specified in paragraph 1 of this Article may,
among other things, define the areas to which they shall apply, the quality
objectives to be achieved, and the methods for achieving these objectives
including methods for the application of appropriate standards and the
scientific and technical information to be collected.
4. The Contracting Parties signatory to these special agreements shall,
through the medium of the Commission, inform the other Contracting Parties
of their purport and of the progress made in putting them into effect.
The Contracting Parties agree to establish complementary or joint
programmes of scientific and technical research, including research into
the best methods of eliminating or replacing noxious substances so as to
reduce marine pollution from land-based sources, and to transmit to each
other the information so obtained. In doing so they shall have regard to
the work carried out, in these fields, by the appropriate international
organizations and agencies.
References and Further Reading
About the Author/s and Reviewer/s
Mentioned in these Entries
Convention for the Prevention of Marine Pollution from Land-Based Sources 2, Convention for the Prevention of Marine Pollution from Land-Based Sources 3, Convention for the Prevention of Marine Pollution from Land-Based Sources 4, Conventions: Chronological Index 1971-1990, High Seas, International Organizations, Marine and Coastal conventions, Treaties.