Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

First Page



The message sounded in Marine Pollution and the Law of the Sea is that it is not too late. International law can still be fashioned to control marine pollution more prudently, more effectively, and more comprehensively. The critical ingredient, however, for obtaining this self-imposed policy of international legal restraint is generation of the national political will among polluter governments to do so. To work efficaciously, law first must be agreed upon, then subscribed to, and ultimately, either obeyed or enforced. If international policies and programs are to work, governments must want them to work. In this modern era of rising economic expectations, spreading industrialization, and increasing interdependence among states, securing genuine commitment from governments to exercise this internationally-oriented political will for checking their own national marine pollution activities will not come easily. Nevertheless, the irrepressible fact remains that the political will and the law must eventually come, or present trends of increasing marine pollution must inevitably change course. Otherwise, having an international law for regulating the oceans should hardly matter. Dead seas will not require much in the way of legal regulation.