MARPOL is an international treaty signed in 1973 by countries who agree to enforce bans on dumping oil and other noxious substances into the sea. But it does not ban hazardous substances, sewage, and plastics.The U.S. has its own stricter regulations on dumping. The Marine, Protection Research, and Santuaries Act of 1972 declares that “the dumping of industrial wastes, radioactive wastes, munitions (chemical or biological), sewage, and incineration at sea are directly prohibited.” Furthermore, those materials with more than trace amounts of certain harmful substances, such as mercury, cadmium, and others, is prohibited.
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