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Bangladeshi shipbreakers return to work

Bangladeshi shipbreakers return to work

Dhaka: Shipbreaking yards in Chittagong resumed full operations on Wednesday after 10 days of protests against stricter environmental regulations of the hazardous industry. ?The protests ended following a "successful" discussion with the government, the ship breakers said. ?"We have decided to reopen the yards after a successful discussion with commerce ministry on the withdrawal of the order," said Jafar Alam, president of Bangladesh Ship Breakers Association. ?The High Court, on January 21, ordered authorities to ensure scrap ships are certified as free of toxic chemicals before entering Bangladesh territory. It also ordered closure of yards that could not provide certification for ships, which are in the process of being broken. ?With India and Pakistan also tightening regulations for shipbreaking following a recent IMO ruling one school of thought suggests this industry will simply move continents. Ingvild Jenssen from the NGO Platform on Shipbreaking explains has told the Ecologist magazine how tougher regulations simply relocated the shipbreaking industry in the past from east Asia to south Asia and could see the industry shift to Africa soon.
'In the 1970s ships were dismantled in Europe under far better conditions that what we are witnessing on the beaches of Bangladesh, Pakistan and India. But when Europe introduced stricter legislation to protect workers and the environment the industry moved to first Japan, Taiwan and China,' he said.  ?'There as well safety and environmental rules were progressively introduced and the industry then moved to South Asia. It has therefore been a continuous race-to-the-bottom and we fear that Africa will be the next destination if no measures are introduced to stop today's dangerous and polluting practice of beach-breaking.'  [04/03/10]

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