This group tracks the responses of shipping industry towards environmental health concerns, highlights influence of shipping companies from EU, US and Japan etc on IMO and its Marine Environment Protection Committee & South Asian governments. It is keen to restore beaches in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan to their pristine glory for the coming generations. For more information visit: www.toxicswatch.org, banasbestosindia.blogspot.com

29/01/2010

Safety situation in shipbreaking yards critical

'Safety situation in shipbreaking yards critical'

Press Trust of India
New Delhi
January 21, 2010

The health and safety situation in many shipbreaking yards in India still remains "critical" and there is a need to improve training facilities and working conditions for labourers, a UN special rapporteur said today.

Okechukwu Ibeanu also noted that only three per cent of the 400,000 metric tonnes of e-waste generated in India is recycled in authorised facilities and recommended a national plan for safe management of electronic products.

The UN Special Rapporteur on the adverse effects of the movement and dumping of toxic and dangerous products and wastes on the enjoyment of human rights, was addressing the media here after wrapping up a 10-day visit to examine India's progress in disposal of hazardous wastes.

Ibeanu, who visited shipbreaking yards in Alang in Gujarat and Mumbai and an e-waste recycling facility in Roorkee, acknowledged the "significant progress" made by India, including in developing an "impressive" regulatory framework for environmentally sound management of toxic products.

Pointing to the differing opinions on environmental impact of shipbreaking, he also favoured an independent study to assess the adverse effects that may be caused by the discharge of hazardous material into natural environment.

While noting the "consistent efforts" being made by authorities in Gujarat to reduce risks to workers, he said, "The health and safety situations prevailing in most of the shipbreaking yards I visited remain critical as witnessed by 12 fatal accidents that occurred in Alang during the course of last year."

The five-day training provided to workers in Alang is "grossly inadequate" and the facilities should be improved, Ibeanu said. "In Mumbai, workers do not receive any form of training, making them more prone to serious accidents and injuries," he said.

Identifying other "shortcomings", Ibeanu said medical facilities established on or just outside the yards in Alang and Mumbai do not possess sufficient human, technical and financial resources to provide any treatment other than first-aid for minor injuries.

"The Red Cross facility I visited in Alang is not equipped to deal with serious accidents, and can only count on four medical doctors to provide health care not only to some 30,000 workers in the yards, but also the neighbouring villages of Alang and Sosia," he said.

He said he was "shocked" to see the conditions in which most workers live in Alang and Mumbai.

"Semi-skilled and unskilled workers live in makeshift facilities lacking basic sanitation facilities, electricity and even safe drinking water," Ibeanu said.

On e-waste, the UN expert said while Indian government is making efforts to meet the challenge, the international community should come up with technology assistance.

Ibeanu, who will submit a report to the UN Human Rights Council, said the dismantling of electronic equipment by small-scale informal laboratories can pose health risks and favoured a national implementation plan for proper management of electronic products, with special focus of integrating informal recyclers into formal economy.

MoEF officials said they have already informed the Gujarat government on Ibeanu’s visit. They further said that Ibeanu will visit Vadodara to do a recce on the industries; he will also visit Ankleshwar to see the Treatment Storage Disposal Facility.

“Ibeanu will be meeting civil society groups to discuss the adverse effects of the movement and dumping of toxic waste, which is affecting human rights. He has been visiting other countries on issues related to ship-breaking activities and e-waste (electronic waste) disposal. This is for the first time that he will be visiting India on a UN mandate,” said MoEF officials.

BS


UN special envoy to visit Gujarat


To report on compliance of technical guidelines on dismantling of ships at Alang under Basel Convention

Okechukwu Ibeanu, the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur of Human Rights Council, will be visiting the industrial areas in Gujarat, the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) said.

Ibeanu, who reached India on Sunday, is visiting the country — for the first time — on a UN mandate. He is scheduled to meet Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) officials on January 13 and 14.

Ibeanu will visit Vadodara, Ankleshwar and Ahmedabad, and meet GPCB authorities on environment related issues. His visit is significant given that the anchorage of Platinum II near the Alang Ship-breaking Yard raising a storm.

Ibeanu is scheduled to visit the Alang Ship-breaking Yard on January 15, where he will examine and report on the compliance of Technical Guidelines for the Environmentally Sound Management of the Full and Partial Dismantling of Ships under the UN Basel Convention. This was adopted in 2002 by a decision of the Conference of the Parties to which India is a party.

MoEF officials said they have already informed the Gujarat government on Ibeanu’s visit. They further said that Ibeanu will visit Vadodara to do a recce on the industries; he will also visit Ankleshwar to see the Treatment Storage Disposal Facility.

“Ibeanu will be meeting civil society groups to discuss the adverse effects of the movement and dumping of toxic waste, which is affecting human rights. He has been visiting other countries on issues related to ship-breaking activities and e-waste (electronic waste) disposal. This is for the first time that he will be visiting India on a UN mandate,” said MoEF officials.

Platinum II: Centre asks more questions

After the MoEF declared Platinum II as a ‘wreck’, the Union Ministry of Steel has written to the former, the Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) and the Gujarat government, asking them the reason for the entry and the anchorage of the vessel at Alang. Sources at the Ministry of Steel told

The Indian Express: “The letter was written on January 8. The Ministry of Steel is responsible for the code related to ship-breaking and welfare of the workers at the Alang Ship-breaking Yard.”

Meanwhile, Indian Platform on Ship-Breaking (IPOS) convenor Gopal Krishna told this paper that he too will meet Ibeanu to discuss the Platinum II issue.

Indian Express

No comments:

Post a Comment