European Union to provide better protection for sea and coast

The European Commission must present plans for improved protection of Europe's coasts and seas by no later than 2005.

March 12, 2003 -- The European Commission must present plans for improved protection of Europe's coasts and seas by no later than 2005. The plans must include protection of biodiversity and prevention of pollution by oil, dangerous (radioactive) substances and waste.

This was decided today by the Environment Ministers in Brussels. State Secretary Pieter van Geel, of VROM welcomes the adoption of a European policy to provide better protection for the marine environment.

Following the disaster with the oil tanker Prestige, the European Commission has put forward a proposal for a ban on the transport of heavy grades of oil in single-hull oil tankers to and from European ports. The European Commission has also made proposals for the accelerated decommissioning of single-hull oil tankers.

The State Secretary is in favour of the idea of phasing out single-hull tankers, but believes that this must be done in a responsible way from the point of view of both health and the environment. In his view, the breaking up of old tankers, which is usually done in developing countries, should not jeopardise the environment or the health of the workers concerned.

For more information: http://www.vrom.nl/international/.


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