ShippingWatch – NGO: Bangladesh ignores scrapping rules

(Written by Ole Andersen)

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13 December 2013 - The government in Bangladesh is doing far too little to protect both the employees and the environment in the country’s enormous scrapping industry, says the NGO Shipbreaking Platform, which works from its Brussels offices to improve the conditions of the much-discusses industry.

“Even when the High Court of Bangladesh has said that shipbreaking should be  strictly regulated and should not take place directly on beaches, but rather in  proper structures such as docks, the government does not even enforce its own  laws or the High Court’s orders directed to the industry, nor does it propose  real alternatives to hazardous beaching,” says Syeda Rizwana Hasan, CEO of  Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA).

According to Shipbreaking Platform a total of 20 people have been killed in  2013 alone in work related to the scrapping industry.

“If Bangladesh does not comply with the international law on transboundary  movement of hazardous wastes, it will remain a dumping ground for the developed  countries. It will allow some companies to make huge profits at the cost of the  environment. It is totally unacceptable that environment, health and safety are  made subordinate to a deadly industry,” says Syeda Rizwana Hasan.

Patrizia Heidegger, CEO of NGO Shipbreaking Platform, says that shipowners,  primarily in Europe, the United States, China, and Japan, have a joint  responsibility to ensure the clean and safe recycling of their old ships.