This article covers a proposed regulation aimed at banning near-shore waste dumping by large ships off the California coast. If enacted, the ban would create a three-mile buffer zone around California’s coast wherein ships cannot void their sewage. The idea is that if ships dump their sewage at least three miles off shore water will dilute the waste enough to protect the coastlines and their ocean ecosystems.
At face value this appears to be an environmentally positive regulation. However, I think it raises more questions regarding mid-ocean dumping. Should ships be allowed to dump their untreated waste anywhere in the ocean? This regulation seems to affirm that dilution is the solution. Perhaps more research is needed to determine whether or not diluted sewage is environmentally safe.