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61. There appear to be, however, a number of Resolutions which would require review in order that more specific and detailed measures may be formulated or that existing measures may be extended to cover substances other than oil. Examples are:

National arrangements for dealing with significant spillages of oil (A.148 (ES.IV), 1968).

Regional co-operation in dealing with significant spillages of oil (A.149(ES. IV), 1968).

Research and exchange of information on methods of disposal of oil in cases of significant spillages (A.150(ES.IV), 1968). Review of the work programme of the organization

62. Section V of this document describes the main items under consideration or contemplated by the Organization which directly or indirectly relate to the prevention and abatement of accidental pollution. The Conference may wish to examine this work programme and make suggestions or recommendations as appropriate with regard to any additional work to be undertaken or priorities to be given to various items. Scientific and technical research on marine pollution

63. In order to achieve the effective control of marine pollution, it would be desirable to collect scientific and technical data on the basis of which suitable control measures could be taken. Under other agenda items the Conference will be invited to consider the establishment of suitable machinery such as to enable the list of noxious substances to be continuously reviewed and updated. This example illustrates the need for a close link between scientific research and the development and implementation of legal measures.

64. Although some effort has been made in the Organization towards the collection of scientific and technical data, there might be a need to intensify work in this respect so that the relevant Convention could be continuously updated. Such information might include the amount of oil and other noxious substances released into the sea, data on ship casualties resulting in major pollution, identification of spilled oil or ther substances, etc.


65. The Conference is invited :
(a) To take note of the information provided above;

(b) To review the nature of the work being carried out in the Organization to improve maritime safety in the interest of pollution prevention and abatement, the progress made to date and plans for future work;

(c) To recommend to the Organization that the work in this field should proceed on a priority basis; and

(d) To adopt a Resolution or Resolutions.

A draft Resolution to this effect is attached at Annex II for consideration by the Conference.



Report of the fourth session-WMO Headquarters, Geneva, 18-23 September 1972


1. The Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Pollution (GESAMP) held its fourth session at WMO Headquarters, Geneva, 18-23 September 1972. The Chairman, Dr. M. Waldichuk, opened the session with a welcome to the experts, to the representatives of the sponsoring agencies, and the observer from IAMS.

2. On behalf of the Secretary-General of WMO, Dr. D. A. Davies, his representative, Mr. N. L. Veranneman, welcomed the participants. He briefly recalled the history of GESAMP, originally established between IMCO, FAO, UNESCO and WMO, later joined by WHO, IAEA and the United Nations itself. In so doing, he thought it useful to reemphasize the special character of GESAMP which had been established for the sole purpose of facilitating the inter-discipli

nary work required to deal effectively with the many aspects of marine pollution, whether it occurs in coastal waters or on the high seas. The Governments represented at the UN Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm reiterated the views which they had already expressed in the governing bodies of other organizations concerned, and unequivocally stressed the need for an inter-disciplinary approach to marine pollution problems. This approach, however, has raised problems such as the size and diversity of the agenda of GESAMP sessions which, in turn, increased the difficulties of conducting successful intersessional work. These problems must be resolved in the near future if GESAMP is to fulfil its proper role. The solution may well have to be looked for in much more intersessional preparatory work by small inter-disciplinary task teams which would enable successive GESAMP sessions to concentrate on the discussion of specific and hopefully comprehensive proposals. Mr. Veranneman concluded by wishing the session successful deliberations.

3. The agenda of the fourth session, as adopted by the Group, is attached as Annex I and a list of documents is shown as Annex II. Information papers summarizing the recent activities of the sponsoring agencies in the field of marine pollution were available to members of the Group for reference during the session. These documents are also listed in Annex II. A full list of participants comprising experts, representatives, observers and members of the Secretariat, is attached as Annex III.


4. The Group noted, with interest and appreciation, Recommendation 88 of the Human Environment Conference which calls on GESAMP to "re-examine annually, and revise as required, its Review of Harmful Chemical Substances with a view to elaborating further its assessment of sources, pathways and resulting risks of marine pollutants . . ." It was agreed that a considerable number of additions could be made to the present Tables as contained in Annex IV of the Third Session report and that the explanatory text could be supple. mented not only by information on any further substances added to the table, but also by more detailed information on the industrial sources of many pollutants, including production statistics where these can be obtained, in order to illustrate the scale of the problem. The IMCO List of noxious and hazardous cargoes (Ref. GESAMP IV/2 and Supplement 1 to this report) would be particularly useful in many respects.

5. As an on-going activity, the Group would also supplement the Review with relevant technical information on waste disposal and treatment methods and gradually develop broad assessments of the levels of treatment and methods of disposal desirable for harmful substances under particular circumstances (Ref. Agenda Item 7; Annex VI). In the course of work on Annex VI, “Management of Waste Disposal”, the working group in question produced new information on the effects of certain substances. This information was incorporated in Annex IV, but will be transferred to the Review in the intersessional period. Special note was made of the need for information on biodegradability, transformation into more basic compounds, and synergism, which were particularly covered under Agenda Item 4.

6. The elaboration of the Review and the regular re-examination of its content was felt to be basic to much of GESAMP's work and therefore merited additional support particularly for intersessional work.

ī. The following programme was suggested for intersessional work in 1972/73 :

(a) Further elaboration of Table 2 of the Review with respect to organic substances and preparation of explanatory notes. It was agreed at the third session that this was the main task for the Group. Funds were provided for Dr. Cole to meet with a small group of industrial chemists from the United Kingdom to initiate this work. Suitable chemists were located and cooperation was promised but in the meanwhile, at the request of IMCO, a new and urgent task of constructing hazard profiles in respect of substances transported by ships was begun and is to continue later this year. The substances evaluated include nearly 100 organic chemicals, many of which are produced in very large amounts and appear in industrial wastes. Although the hazard profiles produced for use by IMCO cannot be converted directly into ratings in Table 1 of the Review, the amount of work needed to provide such ratings and the appropriate markings in Table 2 has been very much reduced. The task of providing explana. tory notes on these additional organic substances has also been eased. More. over, the hazard profiles prepared contain some additional material which can be used to expand slightly the other major categories of pollutants listed in Table 1.

(0) Examination of IMCO report (GESAMP IV/2) and material collected in preparing that report for possible incorporation in the Review. It will be necessary to consider the rationale used to assess hazards arising from the discharge of harmful substances carried in ships (e.g. climatic factors) in order to ensure a consistent approach in both projects. Also, shipping statistics supplied for some of the substances identified in the IMCO report should be studied as a guide to the production of those substances.

(c) Expansion of the notes on radioactive wastes by reference to the IAEA report "Principles for Limiting the Introduction of Radioactive Wastes into the Sea" (GESAMP IV/9).

(d) Examination of a paper prepared by Japan (A/CONF. 48/IWGMP 2/Inf. 10) for the Intergovernmental Working Group on Marine Pollution, Ottawa, 1971. This paper relates wastes to specific industrial processes and may be helpful in expanding the notes to the Review.

8. It is therefore recommended that the agreed preparatory meeting with industrial chemists takes place in early 1973 in London with Dr. Cole as Chairman and Dr. J. E. Portman and Dr. P. Jeffery assisting, if possible, and that additional provision be made for a subsequent meeting of a selected working group of GESAMP to further elaborate the Review in accordance with the intersessional work programme suggested above. This latter meeting was estimated to need 3 working days. Hazard Evaluation of Noxious Substances Transported by Ships

9. The IMCO Sub-Committee on Marine Pollution, in preparing for an International Conference on Marine Pollution to convened by IMCO in 1973, noted certain difficulties in utilizing the categories of noxious substances identified by GESAMP at its third session (GESAMP III/19, Annex V) for the development of control measures for operational discharges and for the construction and equipment of ships carrying dangerous chemicals in bulk. In response to the Sub-Committee's urgent request for further information from GESAMP, a special Panel of IMCO and GESAMP Experts had been set up to review the environmental hazards of substances other than oil transported by ships. This Panel met at IMCO Headquarters from 21 to 25 February 1972 and from 26 to 28 June 1972, under the Chairmanship of Dr. H. A. Cole, in order to carry out this task. The report of the Panel, which was submitted to the Group for approval (GESAMP IV/2), indicated that the Panel had developed a rationale for evaluating the hazards of noxious substances which it subsequently utilized in constructing hazard profiles for some 200 selected substances. This work will be continued at a further session of the Panel to be held later this year. A method of evaluating potential discharges had also been developed to demonstrate the relationship between the hazard rating of a substance, the quantity discharged, and the properties of acquatic systems which may be receiving the material.

10. The Group concurred with the views of a working group which, during the session, considered the Panel's report in detail. It was noted that, since the report had been prepared in response to a specific enquiry from IMCO, it contained basic data which were being used in the formulation of technical provisions for inclusion in a draft international convention for the prevention of pollution from ships. The Group agreed that the report was an accurate and scientifically based document which would be particularly useful for the purposes of the 1973 IMCO Conference on Marine Pollution. The Group recognized and approved that, in the absence of sufficient data on threshold concentrations, it had been necessary to use LC50 values. It was stressed, however, that, as indicated in the review of bio-assay methods (see paragraph 3.1.1 of Annex IV), there is limited biological significance in such values and that evaluation of threshold concentrations is preferable and should be encouraged.

11. The Group agreed that the rationale, which had been carefully established and was well described, would considerably facilitate the future hazard rating of additional substances on a comparable basis. Subject to two small amendments, the Group endorsed this rationale but realized that there was a real possibility that the hazard ratings would be used for purposes other than those specified in the IMCO enquiry. The Group agreed that a similar approach might well be used in preparing hazard ratings for a variety of pollutants from other sources, the need for which was becoming increasingly apparent. Nevertheless, it was felt that before the present rationale and its table of ratings could be used for other purposes, it would be necessary to include additional or more detailed information particularly with respect to physical properties, bio-accumulation characteristics, persistency in the marine environment, long-term effects on the balance of the eco-system and the transformation reactions of certain substances.

12. The Group noted that IMCO was using the information contained in the Report as a basis for assigning the substances into appropriate categories for the purposes of the draft convention. Some views were expressed with regard to the interpretation of hazard ratings of substances which bio-accumulate and which might be repeatedly discharged in a given area. These views will be brought to the attention of the experts concerned.

13. Subject to the foregoing considerations, the Group approved the Panel's report which will be issued as a supplement to this report (GESAMP IV/19/ Supp 1)' and used as a reference document for the IMCO Conference in 1973. The Group well understood the need to establish a mechanism for continually updating the list of substances, as recognized by the IMCO Subcommittee on Marine Pollution. It was suggested that GESAMP continue to offer its assistance.



14. A report (GESAMP IV/3) which had been prepared in the intersessional period was presented. This report provided a summary of the present bio-assay techniques and the Group discussed the problem of interpretation of the results of such tests. In the light of Agenda Items 2.2, 5.1 and 9, which are closely related to the subject of interpretation, it was agreed that a working group should be established to discuss in detail the limitations of bio-assay techniques and their role in establishing water quality criteria for the protection of marine organisms.

15. The Working Group met under the Charmanship of Dr. Berge and was given the following terms of reference:

(a) Definition of term bio-assay;
(6) Identification of the problems to be answered by bio-assays;
(0) Critical review of the tests available and their limitations ;

(d) Discussion of the utilization of bio-assays and other pollution parameters in the definition of water quality criteria (standards); and

(e) Consideration of the report GESAMP IV/2.

16. For the purposes of its deliberations, the Working Group adopted the following definition. Bio-assay is an experiment using aquatic organisms or their individual organs to examine the response (usually detrimental though not necessarily so) to substances or energy added to or subtracted from the water. Also considered to be bio-assays are those experiments where oragnisms are fed or injected with the substance.

17. The working group found that it was unable to give an adequate consideration to all the problems raised by its 4th term of reference but, in considering this, identified several related problems of a toxicological nature. The working group's report is attached as Annex IV and contains the following main conclusions and recommendations.

18. Although bio-assays appear unlikely to be suitable, in isolation, for the establishment of Water Quality Criteria to protect all uses of the marine envi. ronment, they will contin to provide vital information for such purposes. The Group therefore recommends that:

(1) Attention be given to the further development and use of bio-assay procedures, particularly in the fields of pathological, biochemical and physiological effects;

(2) Where it is necessary for various reasons to conduct acute toxicity tests, the continuation of tests to evaluate threshold concentrations, in addition to the TL values for stated time periods, should be encouraged;

1 Copies of this supplement, in English and French only, may be obtained on request from the IMCO Secretariat, London.

(3) Where possible, analyses should be carried out on the animals killed or surviving bio-assay tests, particularly where bio-accumulation is suspected ;

(4) Further use be made of experiments both in the laboratory and in the field to ensure the detection and assessment of synergistic effects of pollutants;

(5) Encouragement be given to an early conclusion to discussions within fisheries organizations such as EIFAC, preferably in collaboration with terrestrial and medical fields of interest, with a view to the production of an internationally agreed terminology for toxicological bio-assay procedures;

(6) Further attention be given by GESAMP to the relative importance of bioassay results and other pollution parameters for the evaluation of water quality standards to protect different kinds of water use;

(7) The continuation of bio-assay tests to establish the dose-effect relationship for given radionuclides and marine organisms should be encouraged ;

(8) Investigations should be made to determine the extent of carry-over of pollutants during the course of desalination;

(9) In relation to the incidence of biotoxin formation, the following studies should be encouraged :

(a) Determination of the ecological factors which might be contributory causes of biotoxin formation;

(b) Standardization of the methods of evaluating the presence of biotoxins; and (0) Forecasting the occurrence of biotoxin formation.



19. Owing to insufficient time, Agenda Item 4 was not adequately discussed. This was most regrettable because the Group recognized the extreme importance of the toxicological aspects of marine pollutants It was further suggested that intersessional work would be needed by a group of experts capable of dealing with the broad aspects of toxicology, including carcinogenesis and other longterm effects.



20. In order to promote the international exchange of information on research into the survival and fate of pathogenic bacteria and viruses in the marine environment, the following actions are recommended :

(a) The establishment of a directory of laboratories in such research; and

(b) The preparation and dissemination of a bibliography of publications

dealing with the survival of pathogenic organisms in the marine environment. Transportation and degradation of pollutants by microbial activities

21. A working paper (GESAMP IV/5) by Dr. FI dgate illustrated the importance of micro-organisms in the marine biosphere both in terms of biomass, productivity and bio-degradation activity. In discussing related marine microbiological patterns it was indicated that both damage to micro-organisms and their ability to degrade pollutants depend on a large number of variables. These were illustrated by reference to some specific pollutants. The effect of marine bacteria on those introduced in sewage was also mentioned, particularly as regards antibiotic production. As these problems have not yet been adequately covered in the Long-term and Expanded Programme of Oceanic Research (LEPOR), the Group suggested that in the further work in relation to GIPME the role of marine microorganisms should be examined in regard to persistence and transformation of pollutants introduced into the sea.


22. The report of the Working Group on this topic was prepared on the basis of some written and oral presentations on the transport and dilution of pollutants in the atmosphere, in the ocean and across the ocean boundary layer (cf. Annex V). Pollution of the sea through the atmosphere

23. Information available at present on concentration, fluxes and mechanisms governing pollution of the sea through the atmosphere is largely of an indirect

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