Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

Industrialised nations are planning to impose a moratorium on the export of hazardous ship-for-scrap to developing countries, including India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Environmentalists are strongly opposed to these conditionalities. Environmental group, Greenpeace International, said under the move the ships which are stripped of the hazardous constituents such as poly chlorinated biphenyls, asbestos, heavy metals and other such substances may also be permitted metal scrap under the provisions of the Basel Convention (Down To Earth, Vol 6, No 20).

Greenpeace has demanded that only uncontaminated metal scraps should be exported. This means that hazardous wastes should be removed from the ships in the source country itself. In the end of 1997, a Denmark-based company, Scandlines, had exported two ferries to India which were carrying hazardous wastes. The Denmark government had then ordered an investigation into the export of these ships to India. It is said that these ships were sent to India without taking environmental clearance from the Danish government.

Maritime board officials in Gujarat confirm that the Union ministry of external affairs had asked all the shipbreaking yards in India whether the ships had visited any of them.

In Denmark's view, the scrap ships containing polychlorinated biphenyls, asbestos and other hazardous constituents should be regarded as hazardous wastes under the European Union Law. The Danish government plans to take up the issue in the environment council for banning the export to developing countries of hazardous ships for scrap by the 15 nation European Union.

Even in the US, the Senate has voted a bill to prohibit the export of government-owned ships for scrapping in less developed countries like India.

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