space Press Releases, News Stories
by Alan Dickey, Lloyd's List
Greenpeace activists paint warning signs of Global Sao Paulo as she waits to beach for scrapping at Alang.
ACTIVISTS from Greenpeace yesterday launched an early morning protest against ship scrapping at Alang Beach in West India.
In an action supported by the ship Rainbow Warrior and co-ordinated by Greenpeace International in Amsterdam and New Delhi, activists painted warning signs on the hull of the Global Sao Paulo, a Greek-operated vessel waiting to be dismantled. Another six vessels were in the area ready to be scrapped.
Greenpeace displayed a banner in an inflatable boat in front of the yard to highlight what the group says are serious health risks to workers caused by scrapping of toxic ships.
Of the 14 vessels currently beached and being scrapped at Alang, some were run by Greek, UK and German operators, Greenpeace said, adding that it believes "the exports of toxic ships-for-scrap from rich nations to developing world is a toxic waste dumping practice under the guise of recycling".
In a statement, Greenpeace said the scrapping activities are a violation of the international Basle Convention and local Indian laws.
"Every toxic ship that comes to Asian shores claims its cost in terms of destroyed environment and poisoned lives," said Nityanand Jayaraman, Asia toxics campaigner for Greenpeace International on board the Rainbow Warrior.
"Greenpeace supports scrapping workers in the yards and wants to ensure their safety is not compromised and that environmental movement and trade unions are working together towards that."
Greenpeace is demanding that shipowners or operators remove hazardous material from the ship before sending it for scrapping; and that owners or operators present a complete inventory of all the hazardous materials and constituents on board of the vessel.
"Greenpeace is not opposed to the scrapping of vessels," Mr Jayaraman said. "However, we want to ensure that the export of ships-for-scrap are not used as an excuse to dump hazardous wastes, such as asbestos, PCBs and heavy metals, on Asian shores. The ships that are sent to Asia must be decontaminated."
Greenpeace investigations over the last two years have revealed the unsound labour and environmental conditions at shipbreaking yards in Alang and Mumbai, in India, as well as in China, Bangladesh and Philippines.
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