GreenPort Magazine – New shipbreaking report calls for Pakistani improvements

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1 November 2013 - The NGO Shipbreaking Platform is calling on the Pakistani government to improve working conditions and environmental protection in the shipbreaking yards of Gadani.

This comes with the launch of the NGO and the Sustainable Development Policy Institute’s (SDPI) new report, Pakistan Shipbreaking Outlook: The Way Forward for a Green Ship Recycling Industry.

“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, NGO Shipbreaking Platform.

Unlike previous reports that focused mainly on the regulatory framework and facilities needed to take care of hazardous waste retrieved from ships, the new joint publication also gives a voice to the exploited workforce in the shipbreaking yards.

SDPI carried out a survey amongst shipbreaking workers in Gadani in 2012 to get their side of the story and highlight the risks taken daily.

The findings include the fact that workers’ rights are not sufficiently protected, notably health and safety rights, freedom of association, workers’ welfare and benefits, and contractual rights.

Taking during a seminar held in Islamabad last month, Syeda Rizwana Hasan of the Bangladesh Environment Lawyers Association (BELA) and environmental lawyer, Ritwick Dutta, said if South Asian countries wasn’t 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,” added 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.”
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