The Daily Star – SC approves closing hazardous ship-breaking yards

12 November 2012 - The Supreme Court on Monday cleared the way for the government to close the operation of all ship-breaking yards running without environmental clearance.

The High Court in a verdict in 2009 directed the government to shut down yards.

The Appellate Division permitted Bangladesh Ship Breakers’ Association (BSBA) to withdraw its pending appeal against the HC verdict which had also ordered that no ship would enter Bangladesh territory for breaking without cleaning its hazardous materials at source or outside the territory.

Following a writ petition filed by Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (Bela), the HC had directed the government to frame necessary rules on ship-breaking in three months in light of six existing laws.

The laws are — Basel Convention Act, 1989; Bangladesh Environment Protection Act, 1995; Bangladesh Marine and Fisheries Ordinance, 1989; Bangladesh Labour Act, 2006; Bangladesh Territorial Water and Maritime Zone Act, 1974; and Environment Protection Rules, 1997.

In response to a stay petition filed by BSBA, the SC on March 23, 2009 stayed a part of the HC verdict that restricted operation of ship-breaking yards without environmental clearance.

The BSBA in April 2009 had filed an appeal with the SC against the HC verdict.

On January 12 this year, the SC sent two rules framed by the government regarding ship-breaking to the HC so that the latter (HC) can examine whether they were prepared as per its 2009 HC directives.

One of the two rules, Ship Breaking and Ship Recycling Rules, 2011, was issued through a gazette by Ministry of Industries on December 12 last year.

The second, Hazardous Waste and Ship Breaking Management Rules 2011, was issued through a gazette by Ministry of Environment and Forests on December 22 last year.