Bangladeshi Lawyer and Programme Director of Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association, Syeda Rizwana Hasan, has said that shipbreaking yards should be closed in
Asia, as these are not environmentally safe, economically
beneficial and socially productive.
Syeda Rizwana was speaking at a seminar on Environmental and social issues of shipbreaking industry organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute here on Thursday. Dr Aurangzaib Khan, Chief Environment, Planning Commission of
chaired the session. Pakistan
Syeda Rizwana said that although shipbreaking industry provides 25% of iron core and livelihood to 18,000 workers, yet its environmental and social costs are unprecedented for
revealed that coastal fishing in Chittagong is almost gone, 14 species of fish
have become extinct, thousands of acres of mangrove forest are chopped off and
the whole area have become chemically polluted with un-reparable damage to
human health. Bangladesh
She said that civil society organisations in
successfully campaigned against shipbreaking yards. As a result, Supreme Court
of Bangladesh in a landmark decision directed the Bangladesh Bangladesh
government to introduce regulations and allow only those ships for breaking in ,
which are thoroughly cleaned by ship owners for all types of chemicals,
pollutants, residues and contaminations. As cleaning of ships is extremely costly, shipbreaking became no
more economically viable, she said adding that this decision put a temporary
hold on industry for some time but shipbreaking again restarted in complicity
with government officials after paying hefty bribes to them. Bangladesh
She rejected IMO regulations, which placed responsibility on shipbreakers and not on western ship owners who are responsible for contamination. She pointed out that Western countries are evading responsibilities, as they do not directly send ships to
South Asia for breaking. Instead, they send the ships to
places like Monrovia, change flags and then send
to South Asia for shipbreaking to avoid
environmental binding and regulations.
She emphasised that we need to send clear message to western world that our beaches are not dumping grounds and lives of our poor labourers are not cheap to play with.
She warned that
once again becoming the hub of unsafe shipbreaking activities as 107 ships were
dismantled this year as compared to 7 ships last year. Pakistan
Dr Aurangzaib said that social and environmental aspects of shipbreaking industry require serious considerations at policy level. He extended his support to steer the environmental agenda and stressed for close working of Planning Commission of Pakistan with civil society on the subject.
Source: The News. 18 September 2011