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Global treaty to halt invasive aquatic species enters into force

 

A key international measure for environmental protection that aims to stop the spread of potentially invasive aquatic species in ships’ ballast water entered into force last week.

 

The International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments (BWM Convention) requires ships to manage their ballast water to remove, render harmless, or avoid the uptake or discharge of aquatic organisms and pathogens within ballast water and sediments.

 

The BWM Convention was adopted in 2004 by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the United Nations’ specialised agency with responsibility for developing global standards for ship safety and security and for the protection of the marine environment and the atmosphere from any harmful impacts of shipping.

 

"This is a landmark step towards halting the spread of invasive aquatic species, which can cause havoc for local ecosystems, affect biodiversity and lead to substantial economic loss," said IMO Secretary-General, Mr Kitack Lim.

 

"The requirements which enter into force today mean that we are now addressing what has been recognised as one of the greatest threats to the ecological and the economic well-being of the planet. Invasive species are causing enormous damage to biodiversity and the valuable natural riches of the earth upon which we depend. Invasive species also cause direct and indirect health effects and the damage to the environment is often irreversible," he said.

 

He added: "The entry into force of the Ballast Water Management Convention will not only minimise the risk of invasions by alien species via ballast water, it will also provide a global level playing field for international shipping, providing clear and robust standards for the management of ballast water on ships."

 

Source: Exim News Service - London, Sept. 12

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