18 April 2010

Cancel change to import policy: Demand Bangladesh environmentalists

Bangladesh Paribesh Andolon (BAPA) condemned the government's recent decision allowing the import of toxic ships, and demanded cancellation of the April 11 amendment to the Import Policy Order.

At a press conference of BAPA at Dhaka Reporters Unity yesterday, the speakers said, with the amendment, the government is allowing importers to bring scrap vessels with "inbuilt" toxic substances.

"A High Court verdict clearly directed the government to ensure cleaning of all toxic materials before importing ships. But the government is giving permission for importing those without cleaning," said Abdul Matin, general secretary of BAPA.

Under the pressure of shipbreaking yard owners, the government is violating all national and international laws, conventions and the HC directives. The government also has moved from its ethical position, he added.

ASM Shajahan, the former adviser to the caretaker government, said no one wants the policy which goes against human health and environment. He urged the prime minister to look into the matter and investigate who will derive benefits out of the entire process.

He also demanded that the culprits behind the scenes are found out and proper rules and regulations followed in the shipbreaking industry.

Safety and security of the workers in the shipbreaking yards have to be ensured, the speakers stressed.

Source: The Daily Star. 18 April 2010

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