More Environmentally Safe Re-use of Dredged Sediment Should be Encouraged

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) wants more constructive and environmentally beneficial re-use of dredged sediment to be encouraged, citing Rotterdam as a good example.

Under the London Protocol, potential environmental impact must be assessed before a permit is issued for waste to be dumped at sea. The IMO is hopeful that more environmentally safe ways can be permitted for reuse of dredged marine sediment in land reclamation and coastal protection projects, thereby minimising risks of contaminated material being disposed of at sea.

Andrew Birchenough, technical officer at the IMO’s marine environment division, notes that on average 500 million tonnes of dredged material are dumped at sea every year. This is a potential resource that could be reused in environmentally safe ways whilst combating climate change effects. He cites Rotterdam as an example of a port that has been successful in re-purposing dredged sediment in “confined disposal facilities” – massive “boxes” that are filled with contaminated dredged material then capped to become artificial islands. 


External Sources

Dredging and Port Construction, August 2018, p18. IHS Markit, London