labels: industry - general, shipping
Greenpeace criticises GPCB''s directive on Genova Bridge news
04 December 2003

This does not address the illegality of the import of this hazardous waste, says Greenpeace campaigner Ramapati Kumar. "GPCB should immediately contact V Shipping International, the owners of the Genova Bridge, and ask the company to clean-up the ship."

GPCB has continuously violated the Polluter Pays principle and routinely assists the polluters by taking on the hazardous and pricey job of decontamination upon themselves at state expense, he alleges. "The company is liable for the removal and re-import of asbestos and other hazardous waste on board the ship under the Basel Convention regulations and the Indian Supreme Court directives."

GPCB has ignored the SC order on Hazardous Waste Management Rules (Amendment, 2003), which directs the state pollution control board should ensure that the ship should be properly decontaminated by the shipowner before breaking, he adds. "The same order also reiterates the ban on import of 29 items including waste asbestos [dust/fibres] following the Indian government ban on import of asbestos waste [dust/fibre] in 1998."

"When broken with hammer and chisel by an unprotected worker, as is the present practice in the Indian ship-breaking yards, asbestos breaks into fine dust and fibre, resulting in a deadly disease [asbestosis] among the workers, says Martin Beseiux (of Greenpeace Belgium) from on board the Rainbow Warrior, docked off the Mumbai coast.

GMB should initiate a health study among the workers to understand the extent of damage caused by toxic substances in the area, he adds. Greenpeace's sailing vessel, the Rainbow Warrior, which was on a toxic patrol along the Indian coast, had found hazardous materials in the British ship, the Genova Bridge, brought in for scrapping at the Alang ship-breaking yard in Gujarat.

The campaigners of the organisation, who had visited the vessel along with an independent hazardous expert, found asbestos and other toxic materials, including anti-fowling paints, says Greenpeace India campaign director Shailendra Yashwant. "We have also moved the GPCB, which, after inspecting the vessel, certified that the Geneva Bridge contains toxic asbestos materials, and also informed the GMB about the ship."

Greenpeace is campaigning against toxic materials found in ships being brought in for scrapping, mainly to third-world countries. The organisation says under international maritime laws the vessels should be cleaned before being sent to the breaking yards. The Rainbow Warrior is at present anchored in the Arabian Sea, off the Mumbai coast.


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Greenpeace criticises GPCB''s directive on Genova Bridge