Marine Pollution: Land-Based Sources and Activities Protocol

 

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On February 20, 2007, the Administration transmitted for U.S. Senate advice and consent the Protocol Concerning Pollution from Land-Based Sources and Activities (LBA Protocol) to the Cartagena Convention, which is a regional framework agreement negotiated under the auspices of the Regional Seas Program of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Land-based sources of marine pollution are estimated to account for 70 to 90 percent of the pollution entering the marine environment. Among the most critical land-based sources of marine pollution in the Caribbean are domestic wastewater and agricultural non-point source runoff. Such pollution contributes to the degradation of coral reefs and commercial fisheries, negatively affects regional economies, and endangers public health, recreation, and tourism throughout the region. The Protocol and its Annexes list priority source categories, activities, and associated contaminants that affect the Wider Caribbean Region, and set forth factors that Parties will be required to apply in determining prevention, reduction, and control strategies to manage land-based sources of pollution. In particular, the Parties are required to ensure that domestic wastewater discharges meet specific effluent limitations, and to develop plans for the prevention and reduction of agricultural non-point source pollution. The Protocol is expected to raise standards for treating domestic wastewater throughout the region to levels close to those already in place in the United States. The International Section was an active member of the U.S. delegation throughout the negotiation of this Protocol.

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