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Bangladesh environmental ruling threatens closure of 36 shipbreakers

Bangladesh environmental ruling threatens closure of 36 shipbreakers

Dhaka: With shipbreaking very much back in vogue in the current tough freight rate environment, owners choice of breaking yards may well be severly curtailed. Environmentalists are hailing a Bangladesh High Court decision to order the closure, in two weeks, of all ship-salvaging yards which do not have environmental clearances. The judges also have banned "toxic" ships from entering Bangladeshi waters.
The Bangladesh High Court has ordered that the country's ship-dismantling operations must close in two weeks if they do not obtain government environmental clearances.
Bangladesh is the world's top destination for ships being dismantled for scrap metals and other materials. ?Syeda Rizawana Hasan, the director of the Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association, which filed the public interest litigation, calls the judgement a landmark decision. ?"The court has expressly said Bangladesh cannot be treated as a dumping ground of hazardous waste," said Hasan. "The court has really tried to address the long-standing inaction by the secretary agencies in regulating the shipbreaking industries in line with international conventions and the national law." ?The court chastised relevant government ministries for not enforcing environmental laws.?The ruling affects all 36 shipyards which have no environmental certification. ?The industry in Bangladesh is expected to appeal the court decision. The judges in their ruling also banned any vessels entering Bangladeshi waters that are on the toxic ship list maintained by the non-governmental organization Greenpeace.  [19/03/09]?

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