18 November 2011

Environment-friendly ship recycling project undertaken in Bangladesh:

NORAD, UNIDO to finance $8.0 million

A sustainable and environment-friendly ship recycling project has been undertaken by the Ministry of Industries (MoI) to help develop country's shipbreaking industry and capacity building for sound management of hazardous materials.

The ship recycling project has been taken up with acceptable health, safety and environmental standards according to the national and international norms.

The project with the funds of the Norwegian Agency for Development Co-operation (NORAD) and United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) will finance $ 8.0 million to help run the safe and environment- friendly ship recycling project, shipbreakers said.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed on November 13 between the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), Norwegian Agency for Development Co-operation (NORAD) and MoI on a safe shipbreaking industry in Bangladesh.

We will provide a fund worth $6.0 million to help Bangladesh shipbreaking industry in making it a sustainable and environment-friendly recycling sector, Director of NORAD BH Eriksen said.

He announced the fund while leading a 9-member delegation including members from IMO, UNIDO and high officials from Norwegian foreign affairs and environment ministries that visited 2 shipyards, training centre and hospital in Chittagong on November 15.

The project is planned to be implemented in 2 phases. All activities in the project shall contribute to the objective for a sustainable ship recycling in Bangladesh with acceptable health, safety and environmental standards according to national and international norms, Head of Marine Pollution Prevention and Ship Recycling Section of IMO Nikos Mikelis told the FE during the visits to shipyards.

1st phase of the project will include:

Ø    Plan for the management of hazardous materials,
Ø    Development of training for health, safety and environmental protection and
Ø    Preparation of the project document for Phase II

When asked why they chose Bangladesh, Mr Mikelis said Bangladesh has a huge potentiality and it deserves support as shipyards in Bangladesh are gradually improving safety, environmental protection and social welfare.

A key requirement of both the Hong Kong Convention and the Basel Convention is the environmentally sound management of hazardous materials, he said adding under the Hong Kong Convention, recycling facilities must ensure that hazardous materials are removed from a ship in a safe and environmentally sound manner and that all hazardous materials detailed in the ship's Inventory of Hazardous Materials are identified, labeled, and packaged in a safe and environmentally sound manner.

"The project will help Bangladesh develop environment-friendly hazardous waste management system," he added.

Shipbreakers said Bangladesh is the signatories to Basel Convention and it took part in one session of the convention but yet to ratify it.

Hong Kong Convention is a comprehensive guideline for complete shipbreaking activities and procedures are under way for being the signatories to this convention, they explained.

Technical Adviser of Bangladesh Ship Breakers Association (BSBA) Captain Salahuddin said this project will help the sector in capacity building and upholding the international image.

"But the success of the project is uncertain until it is designed and started," he said adding it will take 4 months to start the project.

Industries Minister Dilip Barua told the FE that transparency will be ensured for the proper utilisation of the fund.

The project will be designed for human resource development, hazardous waste management and meeting the international standard especially building an environment-friendly ship recycling industry.

There are now 126 shipbreaking yards based on the coastline of Sitakundu near the port city of Chittagong. The shipbreaking industry is the country's main source of iron and steel. Private re-rolling mills and steel mills melt the scraps dismantled from ships to produce mild steel rods, bars and angles.

Source: The Financial Express. By Monira Munni. 17 November 2011

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