Good job bringing this to light. People won't realise how huge the problem is and municipalities are woefully ill equipped to...
Agreed; mining can never be sustainable, but then how do you get the metals to make all the things you need in the course of...
Very good piece.
Supreme Court had set up a high-level committee of technical experts to examine the working conditions at the Alang shipbreaking yard, Asia's biggest shipbreaking yard. The committee, headed by Prodipto Ghosh, secretary, Union ministry of environment and forests, submitted its report early this month, pinning the blame of poor workers' health on the working conditions and lax regulations.
The report claims that almost one in every six workers in Alang is a victim of asbestosis -- a respiratory disease caused by exposure to asbestos. Moreover, the fatal accident rate, two in every thousand workers, is six times more than that in the mining industry.
Environmentalists have always expressed concern about the working conditions at Alang but government has consistently denied that there is a link between workers' health and working conditions.The National Institute of Occupational Health was commissioned by the committee to execute the study with a focus on workers handling asbestos on the ships where asbestos is used mostly for insulation. The institute studied x-rays as well as health records of workers, the majority of whom had worked for less than a decade. Normally, asbestosis takes up to 10 years to develop, however, higher exposure can trigger it earlier.
The report also recommends a seven point clean-up process for the yard. The steps include a procedure for assessing hazardous waste and verification before the ship beaches, more detailed guidelines for beaching and breaking, landfills for wastes like oil and polychlorinated biphenyls, a toxic chemical that stays in the environment for long, and compulsory dismantling and recycling facility management for all ships.