15 July 2012

Supreme Court verdict may drown world’s largest shipbreaking yard at Alang:

If the latest ruling of the Supreme Court banning the import of all hazardous and toxic waste in the country is put into force, World’s largest ship breaking yard at Alang may be forced to shut down.

“Alang may have to stop operations if the direction of Apex Court on banning import of all hazardous and toxic wastes under the BASEL Convention is implemented,” president of Ship Recyclers Association, Vishnu Gupta said.

However, it is to be noted that hearing the same case earlier, the Apex Court had issued two directions in 1997 and 2003.

“According to SC guidance, a committee was set up and there are 18 guidelines which ship breakers follow at the time of import, beaching and breaking so as to avoid any hazardous or toxic wastes,” Gupta added.“As the Supreme Court’s recent order has created confusion, only Union government can clarify the matter.

We need some notification in this regards to clear the air,” Gupta said.Apex court, in its order, has reasserted its earlier interim direction on handling of hazardous materials and ship breaking activities.

However, the bench also directs government to ban import of all hazardous and toxic waste.“Reasserting the interim directions given with regard to the handling of hazardous wastes and ship breaking in the various orders passed in the writ petition from time to time and, in particular, the orders dated 13th October, 1997 and 14th October, 2003.

The Central Government is also directed to ban import of all hazardous/toxic wastes which had been identified and declared to be so under the BASEL Convention and its different protocols. The Central Government is also directed to bring the Hazardous Wastes (Management & Handling) Rules, 1989, in line with the BASEL Convention and Articles 21, 47 and 48A of the Constitution,” the bench said in its order on July 6. “If this is the case than there is anomaly and we will need further clarification in this regards. Ship breaking activity has already been following various guidelines as per the directions of the SC order. However, banning of import will include ban on all types of imports including the ship,” an official with a pollution control board said.

Source: DNA India. By Bhavesh Shah. 12 July 2012

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