The London Convention of 1972 was one of the first treaties in international law to make marine conservation an international obligation. It was amended by the London Protocol in 1996, which is applicable to those states that had previously agreed to the Convention. Both treaties were developed to regulate the discharge of hazardous wastes and other substances into the ocean. As of January 2021, however, only 87 states had acceded to the Convention and only 53 to the Protocol, which means that coverage is less than universal for both of them.
Nevertheless, the London Convention sets internationally binding standards for marine conservation, in part because it is reinforced by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the charter for the oceans that is recognized by almost all countries. The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea indirectly holds the standards of the London Convention and potentially also those of the Protocol to be applicable to all states, including those that have not signed the treaties.
The London Protocol came into force in 2006 and generally prohibits the discharge of waste into the sea. Exceptions to the ban include dredged material, sewage sludge, fish waste, derelict ships and drilling platforms, as well as natural organic and geological material.