European shipping companies export hazardous waste
European shipping companies export hazardous waste to developing countries to avoid the costs of proper disposal. The NGO Shipbreaking Platform, a coalition of environmental and labour organizations, calls on the EU Commission to act and prevent toxic waste trade of European end-of-life ships.
GLOBAL: The NGO Shipbreaking Platform, a coalition of human rights, labour rights and environmental organisations working on the shipbreaking issue, has released its third yearly list of European companies that have sent end-of-life ships to the infamous scrap beaches of South Asia.
The European Waste Shipment Regulation prohibits EU Member States from exporting hazardous wastes, including those present in the structure of ships to developing countries. Still, the vast majority of European shipping companies continue to avoid the costs of proper disposal by selling their ships to South Asian breaking yards known for the lack of enforcement of environmental and labour laws, exposing some of the poorest communities to extremely dangerous working conditions and severe pollution.
The top 10 European dumpers in 2011 were Greece (100 ships), Norway (24 ships), UK (13 ships), Netherlands (12 ships), Germany (11 ships), Italy (9 ships), Cyprus and Switzerland (5 ships each), Bulgaria, Denmark and Romania (4 ships each), Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Spain and Sweden (3 ships each), and Belgium, Finland, Ireland and Slovenia (1 ship).
In total, approximately 800 ocean ships reach the end of their service life each year and are broken down to recover steel. About 80% of them are simply run ashore on tidal beaches in developing countries such as Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, where unscrupulous shipbreaking companies exploit minimal enforcement of environmental and safety rules to maximize profits. The IMF has reported extensively on efforts to organize shipbreaking workers.
The NGO Shipbreaking Platform participated at the first joint IMF-EMF Global Conference on Safe, Sustainable and Green Jobs in Shipbuilding/Shipbreaking, September 13-14, 2011 in Istanbul, Turkey." Jan 18, 2012 – Rainer Santi