Make India Asbestos Free

Make India Asbestos Free
For Asbestos Free India

Journal of Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI). Asbestos Free India campaign of BANI is inspired by trade union movement and right to health campaign. BANI has been working since 2000. It works with peoples movements, doctors, researchers and activists besides trade unions, human rights, environmental, consumer and public health groups. BANI demands criminal liability for companies and medico-legal remedy for victims.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Bangladesh Doesn't Want Asbestos Laden Ship

Chittagong, Bangladesh - Officials in Bangladesh’s Chittagong region, an
area where hundreds of old ships are dismantled each year, have announced
that they will refuse to accept a Korean ship that is said to contain large
amounts of harmful asbestos and other hazardous materials.

According to a BBC News article written by Anbarasan Ethirajan, officials
are taking a stand after receiving complaints about the ship from several
environmental groups. The vessel, the MV Asia Union, was built in South
Korea in 1982, a time when most countries had ceased the use of asbestos
materials. However, because asbestos was not banned in South Korea until
2009, there is an assumption that it contains large amounts of the material.

“We haven't received any application for MV Asia Union,” said Department of
Environment Director General Monowar Islam. “We have not provided any
environmental clearance for this ship.”

However, a port official in Chittagong noted that they would be sending a
team of inspectors out to the ship to determine exactly what remains on
board. At that point, they will make a recommendation and a decision will be
made as to whether or not to allow the ship into Bangladeshi waters.

Thousands of workers in Chittagong make their living in so-called
ship-breaking yards, dismantling old vessels that come to Bangladesh from
countries around the world. According to the BBC article, Bangladesh gets
about 60 percent of its steel from these ship-breaking yards.

However, such a job can be extremely hazardous because, for decades, ships
were fitted with all sorts of asbestos materials because of the mineral’s
excellent heat-resistant qualities. Throughout the world, individuals who
worked in shipyards or aboard ships that were built while asbestos use was
widespread, including U.S. veterans, have been sickened with asbestos
diseases such as malignant mesothelioma.

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