PRESS RELEASE – NEW NGOS REPORT CALLS ON PAKISTANI GOVERNMENT TO IMPROVE SHIPBREAKING INDUSTRY
Islamabad, 29 October 2013 – The
NGO Shipbreaking Platform and one of its member organizations, the Sustainable
Development Policy Institute (SDPI) launched yesterday a research report titled
“Pakistan Shipbreaking Outlook: The Way Forward for a Green Ship Recycling
Industry” during a seminar held in Islamabad. The research report is a joint
publication of the NGO Shipbreaking Platform and SDPI, and outlines policy
recommendations for improving working conditions and environmental protection
in the shipbreaking yards of Gadani.
“With our member organization
SDPI, and with the rest of our coalition, we are calling on the Pakistani
government to do the right thing and protect the workers and the environment
from the dumping of thousands of tonnes of hazardous waste coming from
end-of-life ships,” said Patrizia Heidegger, Executive Director of the NGO
Contrarily to previous reports
that focused mainly on the regulatory framework and the facilities needed to
take care of the hazardous waste retrieved from the ships, ”Pakistan
Shipbreaking Outlook: The Way Forward for a Green Ship Recycling Industry” also
gives a voice to the exploited workforce in the shipbreaking yards,
highlighting the risks they are exposed to on a daily basis. SDPI conducted a
survey amongst shipbreaking workers in Gadani in 2012 to get their side of the
story. The findings include the facts that workers’ rights are not sufficiently
protected, notably health and safety rights, freedom of association, workers’
welfare and benefits, and contractual rights.
Syeda Rizwana Hasan, Chief
Executive of the Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA) and
Ritwick Dutta, an environmental lawyer from the Indian-based Legal Initiative
for Forest and Environment (LIFE) said that if South Asian countries want to
stop being the dumping grounds for developing countries’ toxic ships, they need
to enforce international waste trade law.
“Our laws are weak and this is
why these ships choose to come to our beaches,” said Syeda Rizwana Hasan. “We
cannot paint this industry green, but we need to make it green. The report is
the start of a long term process.”
BELA and LIFE are both member
organizations of the NGO Shipbreaking Platform.
About 150 people attended the
seminar presenting the report, including researchers, representatives from
governmental institutions and policy makers. Amongst others, two members of the
National Assembly of Pakistan, Arifa Khalid and Romina Khurshid Alam, and the
director general of the Balochistan Environmental Protection Agency, Naseer
Khan Kashani were present and welcomed the publication of the research report.
“With a joint effort by the
relevant government bodies, shipbreaking industry, civil society and a special
support from international organisations we can turn this business into a
modern and safe industry,” said Patrizia Heidegger.