Environmental degradation

The dumping of pollution as a transnational crime

Authored by: Jay L. Batongbacal

Routledge Handbook of Transnational Criminal Law

Print publication date:  October  2014
Online publication date:  October  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415837125
eBook ISBN: 9780203380277
Adobe ISBN: 9781135043650


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‘Dumping’ is one of those terms prone to confusion because it has ordinary and technical meanings. In layman’s usage, dumping can mean ‘throwing, discarding, disposing, depositing, or discharging,’ which makes it easily correspond with pollution per se, itself basically an act of discharge. It is thus easy to think that ‘dumping’ might be synonymous with ‘pollution,’ if one were totally unfamiliar with the term. At the same time, ‘dumping’ has also been used to refer to very specific acts of pollution in recent international agreements such as the London Protocol, 1 1

1996 Protocol to the London Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter amended in 2006, 7 November 1996, 36 ILM 1 (1997), in force 24 March 2006. Available from International Maritime Organisation at http://www.imo.org/blast/blastData.asp?doc_id=13203&filename=PROTOCOL%20Amended%202006.doc (accessed 13 September 2013) (hereinafter the London Protocol).

which uses the term particularly to refer inter alia to the disposal, storage, or abandonment of wastes and other matter into the sea by ships, aircraft, and offshore platforms. 2 2

Ibid., Article 1(4).

These activities, however, are entirely different from that involved in ‘dumping’ in international trade parlance, which uses the term to refer to the practice of an exporting State of under-pricing its goods in order to unfairly compete with similar goods of the importing State. 3 3

See J. Viner, ‘Dumping as a Method of Competition in International Trade’, The University Journal of Business, 1922, vol. 1, no. 1, p. 34; World Trade Organization, ‘Technical Information on Anti-Dumping’, available at http://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/adp_e/adp_info_e.htm (accessed 6 February 2014).

Yet, ‘dumping’ has also sometimes been used to refer to the trans-boundary shipment of wastes, including toxic or hazardous materials, so that one State can export its pollution to another State. 4 4

UNEP and Secretariat of the Basel Convention, The Basel Convention at a Glance, Geneva: Secretariat of the Basel Convention, 2001.

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