Canada tightens net on marine polluters

The newly-elected Canadian government has announced plans to beef up its regulation of marine pollution, bringing the country's laws in line with the toughest international standards.

The new-look Regulations for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships and for Dangerous Chemicals combine a tidying up of existing standards with the addition of new legislation designed to minimise pollution from shipping in Canadian waters.

The specifics include stricter approval standards for oily water filters, an obligation to fit storage tanks or approved treatment equipment for sewage, the redefinition of residues from cargo as waste and regular inspection and emissions testing of ships.

They also specify the quality of fuel which can be used by ships and boats in Canadian waters, limit emissions of nitrogen oxides from diesel engines, ban emissions of ozone-depleting substances and restrict the use of on-board incinerators.

According to the Canadian government, it will be taking a zero tolerance stance on marine pollution incidents and the regulations will help eliminate deliberate, accidental or negligent discharge of pollutants from ships.

"These new requirements and improvements to existing regulations demonstrate the government of Canada's commitment to ensuring a cleaner and healthier marine environment," said Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon.

"They align Canadian practices with international standards, making Canada a leader in the prevention of marine pollution."

Environment Minister John Baird added: "This is a major step forward in our efforts to ensure Canadians have clean water and that our oceans and lakes are protected for the continued sustainability of our fish resources and habitats.

"These new regulations complement the Government's existing stringent controls on disposal at sea under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, and bring together tough pollution prevention measures for the marine industry covering both water and air and applying to all Canadian waterways."

Sam Bond



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