Norway on Friday said that it would put an end to the discharge of sewage from ships within 12 nautical miles along the Norwegian coast and around the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard.

The Nordic country has agreed to follow the international regulations for the prevention of pollution by sewage from ships that are contained in the Annex IV of the marine pollution convention MARPOL, the Ministry of Climate and Environment said in a statement.

Norwegian Minister of Climate and Environment Vidar Helgesen has requested the Norwegian Maritime Directorate to draw out an amendment to prevent sewage discharges.

“The increased marine traffic, especially cruise ships, has a negative impact on the environment along the coast and the vulnerable areas around Svalbard.

“Therefore, I want a regulation that prohibits sewage discharge within 12 nautical miles,’’ Helgesen was quoted as saying.

In addition, the Norwegian Maritime Directorate shall elucidate stricter rules for emissions of sulfur and nitrogen gas in the world heritage fjords, which leads to harmful contamination, he said.

The MARPOL Annex IV regulations say that all bigger ships in international traffic are to be equipped with sewage treatment facilities and/or septic tanks.

According to the current regulations, maritime sewage along Norwegian southeastern coast could only be discharged more than 12 nautical miles from the land.

For the rest of the country, however, the main rule is that sewage could be discharged at least 300 meters from the land.

The goal is to have the new requirements completed by the end of 2018, the Norwegian government said.

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