25 February 2011

Scrap ship cleaning a must, all agree:

In a major development, the High Court and both sides of a case on shipbreaking yard agreed that all ships, which were brought for dismantling, must be cleaned before scrapping in order to protect environment as well as human lives from its toxic effects. The HC directed the Ship Breakers Association to submit an affidavit before it within February 27 on whether there was sufficient (human and logistical) capacity to pre-cleaning the ships in the country without risking human health in any way.

The HC directed the association to prepare the affidavit after collecting the opinions from expert regarding this matter.

The HC bench comprising Justice AHM Shamsuddin Chowdhury and Justice Sheikh Md Zakir Hossain passed the verbal order during the hearing on a petition filed by ShipBreakers Association to recall its earlier order that directed not to bring any ship in the territory of Bangladesh for scrapping without having environmental and toxic waste-free certificates. The HC directed Advocate Anisul Haque, counsel for the ShipBreakers Association, to take back their petition form the Appellate Division, which filed against the HC order earlier.  The HC cautioned against polluting the Sea in any way and not to engage affecting women and children for the shipbreaking.

Waste oil drained from scrap ship in Chittagong ShipBreaking yard
Photo source: Dr. Tridib Ghose
Earlier on December 15, the same HC bench passed the order following a writ petition of Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA). Advocate Fida M Kamal, Dr Syeda Rezwana Hasan and Advocate Iqbal Kabir Liton appeared for BELA.

During the hearing, Syeda Rezwana Hasan, counsel for the BELA told the court that pre-cleaning of the ships is done to remove hazards against environment as well as human lives; the pre-cleaning is essential and legal condition as per both national and international laws.

Pointing to lower price of ships' rods (About Tk 600 in comparison of other rods), she said, "The price is lower only when value of human lives was not considered in determining it."

The court set February 27 for next hearing on the matter.

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