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Introduction

Business Law Research, the researcher would deal with the pollution effects in the water bodies covered under the Australian Environmental Protection Act, 1981. In the modern days, with an increase in industrial activities pollution in the environment is growing at an alarming rate. The pollution of land and water due to the high rate of carbon emission and industrial pollutant dump is causing peril to public health. The published press realises and concern those has become known in the recent days is discussed here along with legal implications. The law specifically scrutinized here the published cases of sea dumping, affecting the vast coastline of the state in Business Law Research. The recent cases like Queensland Nickel Refinery Dumping case, Great Barrier Reef Dumping and the CSIRO survey is briefed along with the recent developments in legislations formulated by Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) to counter the threats are critically studied herein.

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Summary of the Sea Dumping Acts of Australia

Business Law Research says the water in and around the Australia is facing a constant threat from the illegal dumping at sea along with the spillages happening from different dumping spaces. The increasing threat to the water body first thought to be regulated back in 1981 when the Environmental Protection Act was first legislated. The Australian regulations of loading and dumping of all wastes threatening the water bodies regulated via this act, also known as the Sea Dumping Act in Business Law Research as sub section of the previously mentioned act (Medan, 2014). This act also fulfilled the obligations under the London Protocol that sought to control and prevent the marine pollution by a stringent control over wastes dumped at Sea. Under this Act, the state sought to achieve the following:

  • Prohibiting Ocean disposal of waste those are branded harmful to marine life,
  • Regulation of permitted waste disposal to ensure minimum environmental effects
  • The act covered all vessels, aircraft and platforms of Australia and all vessels and crafts in the International waters around Australia

The act made the permits mandatory for all kind of vessels and modes those used in dumping operations. These permits find its use in dredging and artificial reef building around Australian coast too. However, the act does not act upon operational discharges from ships like sewage and other gallery scraps. This controlled by another act named Australian Maritime Safety Authority Guidelines. Again, the Article 8 of the London Protocol defines other emergencies those often give space to sea dumping at rare cases. The Sea Dumping Act linked with the following Acts in its nature of execution:

  • Environmental Protection Act (1981)
  • Environmental Regulations and Sea Dumping Act (1983)
  • Environment Protection and Biodiversity Protection Act (1999)
  • Sea Installation Act (1987) and
  • Sea Installation Levy Act (1987)

The Sea Dumping Act also has its relationship with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Act (1975). The aim of these regulations stays protection of marine life along with all sea related installations, manmade structures and tourism related activities (Rangreji, 2013). However, a project rarely requires a permit under the previously mentioned acts as it prevails today. The act is levied when there is an environmental breach (Edoqld.edu.au, 2014).

Case 1: Nickel Refiner Dumping Case

As reported in February of 2014, the nickel refinery owned by Clive Palmer found to have dumped in multiple occasion toxic water waste in the waters of the Great Barrier Reef marine park. Despite being forbidden to do so in previous occasions, the government documents reveal that the refinery has dumped around 516 tonnes of toxic water waste in the year 2011 alone (McBurrow, 2013). The waste was nitrogen-laden water from the Nickel refinery located at Yabulu, Business Law Research in Queensland. Documents under the freedom of information by North Queensland Conservation Council finds the repeat of offence by the refinery in many occasions for which it had been warned under the Great Barrier Reef Authority Act (1975). The state government reacted by stating that there is a problem in terms of waste dumping. It was further aggravated by heavy rains that caused the pool of waste overflow and do the damage in March 2009 and again in January of 2010 (Abc.net.au, 2014)

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The park authority demanded the removal of the pipelines facing the reef that was not obeyed and no civil or criminal charges were levied at that point. However, the state court in June 2012 found the that the park continuously discharged the waste for consecutive three months that contained nitrogen limits 100 times more than the permissible limits along with heavy metals and other contaminants. The park authority calculated the amount to be as major as daily discharge of a city with seven million people. The park authority considered the options and threatened a compensation claim of 6.4 billion Australian dollars. After the declaration of the Great Barrier Reef as a world heritage site in 1981, the norms of environmental control came under heavy scrutiny. However, the state permitted the nickel and cobalt refinery to have its plat unit discharges within a 2-kilometre distance in the same year. Since then the plant has been producing around 30,000 tonnes of nickel along with 15000 tonnes of cobalt annually. The problem, as was published from the Nickel Refinery stated that since 1981 no permit needed to be taken from the state government, under the prevailing law. However, the identification of the toxic mix came to notice only in 2009 monsoon, which was conveyed to the firm by the Queensland Department of Environment in Business Law Research promptly (Thegurduain.com, 2014).

However, the licence for the refinery was renewed after a major bipartite debate over the issue in 2012. The state board found the crime non-bail able offence and convicted the promoter Clive Palmer guilty for three months that is been challenged at higher courts at present (Medan, 2014). Currently, the ministry representative of Queensland Environment has offered their brief to the media that the investigation is incomplete and the crime is yet to be determined. The authority also negated any charges of spillage as was reported in the past and rejected the spillage theory being nonexistent. Nevertheless, the higher courts are yet to give their verdict in this matter of Business Law Research. The current norm states that the pool needs to be spill proof just to ensure enough capacity without proper guidelines. Indicative of this is the norm for Sea Dumping guidelines and the Great Barrier Riff Protection law the authorities have understood the need for a legislative intervention to see a Commonwealth wide implementation of stringent norms like the EPA guideline as revised in February 2014 (Abc.net.au, 2014).

Case 2: Great Barrier Reef Park Sea dumping (NQCC Representation)

Recently in August 2014, the Additional Attorney for the state of Queensland has adjourned the hearing for the North Queensland Conservation Council’s appeal for a ban on the decision of dumping of 3 million cubic meter of dredge soil in the waters of The Great Barrier Reef. The Great Barrier Reef is a world heritage site with a unique marine balance. Under the provisions of the Environment Protection and Sea Dumping Act of 1981 the appeal for a ban on the decision was sought by NQCC to see that no further harm is done and all environmental aspect of the site were not to be disturbed (McBurrow, 2013). However, the inconsistency of the decision to dump the waste is a breach of the Article 8 of the London Protocol and so the case stands trial in the Commonwealth courts too. NQCC appealed to the Additional Attorney’s office on February this year. The case was given hearing on further 2 occasions in March and June consecutively. Nevertheless, the learned court is yet to give a verdict until date. The appeal is in the Commonwealth court too for a review, as on today (Edoqld.edu.au, 2014).

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The court has put a stay order on the dumping decision anyway till the matter is resolved bearing which the dumping agencies both Public and Private are in search for new sites apart for the reef waters (Rangreji, 2013). However, in connection to the case, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority has commented that their rights in this matter is more limited with only some rights in regard to the acceptance or rejection of a permit and that is felt inadequate. The court has asked the opposite representation as the case goes for their comments before the final hearing and judgement, thereafter.

CSIRO Survey Report 2014

The annual report as published in July 2014 by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) states that the coast lines of Australia have seen a great amount of marine pollution increase in last 5 years that is nearly the double of what it was even five years before as in 2014. The problem is primarily human wastes, especially plastics. The coast survey of marine animal death due to plastic consumption along with perils of insoluble wastes of petrochemical nature has killed more animal in this last five years than it was ever before in all of previously documented history of the Australian seacoast. The plaguing of the coastlines due to such toxic waste is alarmingly all time high (Abc.net.au, 2014).

The study also pointed that nearly three-quarters of the entire Best Australian Law Expert coastline is used as illegal dumping ground. The report also has reported a startling amount of coast waste being accumulated in the Australian seacoast that is over casting all previous record (Medan, 2014).  The human waste like cigarette buds those are non-bio degradable becomes a major source of marine life death due to consumption of them. The startling numbers of deaths in the marine birds have shown undigested human resource waste as a cause of death.

New Legislation by AEPA

The need for new regulation to protect the marine life and other various related damage seemed to be very vividly covered by the Australian Environment Protection Act (AEPA). The new legislation by the Queensland Environmental Authority in the month of April 2014 is aimed towards the same. The new legislation aimed in giving the authorities more autonomy of function and executioner powers. The recent case of NQCC has shown that the powers to charge 10 times more the basic fine is given to the body so that the instant fine can be levied to any establishment found to be breaking the norms. The national perception towards conservation and stability of the natural buoyancy has also pushed the legislators to formulate the ordinance of July 2014 that have extended the Queensland Authorities to have more autonomy to see that the regulations and guidelines are followed. The committee formed to give the autonomy, also proposed that an aerial investigation team is present to see that no physical violation is committed in and around the Heritage site of The Great Barrier Reef. However, the legislation for a more stringent industrial norm is needed to see that no permit can be got without the authorities investigating the viability under the Environment Protection Act of 1981 (Edoqld.org.au, 2014).

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Nevertheless, the legislation in connection to the international waters and a global pact to see that no dumping is done by any coastal nations across the globe. The Commonwealth is also gathering its efforts to see that these norms are broad based to cover a wider global application of the laws with similar spirit (Rangreji, 2013). The new cases immersing in the press is also considered as is debated on Social platforms for a wider public opinion. This opinion itself is the cause for recent legislative outcomes as was opened by the Green’s Senator Larissa Waters in her recent interviews with national media (theguardian.com, 2014).

Conclusion

The World Health Organization (WHO) in an article of 2012 published that the majority of the disease humankind is facing is due to prolonged exposure to the environmental pollutant. The concern is not just for Australia but the effect is global. The effect is also affecting the flora and fauna balance of the globe that has a long-term impact along with global green house effect. Improper business management of solid and liquid waste has its own designated dumping places all over the nation but due to uncontrolled dumping or faulty recycling. The act as is prevalent needs a wider approach to incorporate all the aspects of recent developments