The trade in toxic waste is outlawed in many countries. However this trade still continues away from the public gaze or under another name. We teamed up with internet activists to expose a common form of toxic waste trade.
Ship being scrapped, Alang, Gujarat, India.
Every year, hundreds of ships are sent to scrap yards in Asia.
These ships contain large amounts of toxic waste like asbestos and
heavy metals. During scrapping these toxic substances pollute the
environment. Asbestos fibres fill the air, oil and other poisons
litter the once pristine beaches and pollute the sea around the
yards. The working conditions in these shipbreaking yards are
appalling, often with inadequate or non existent safety regulations
or protective clothing.
We are working to ensure that ship owners in the developed world
clean ships before being sent for scrapping, rather than dumping
toxic ships in Asia. Shipowners sell old ships for millions of
dollars. Part of this huge profit should be used to ensure toxic
chemicals are removed and not left to endanger the lives of workers
and the environment in Asia.
To pressure the shipping industry into cleaning up its act we
created a website and
asked for help from concerned people involved in shipping. We are
receiving several useful tips a week and one has lead to the case
of the 'Gerd'.
According to our sources this
ship is heading for scrapping in Asia, it has been sold and
renamed in recent months and owners have refused to provide a list
of the hazardous substances onboard. We will be tracking the Gerd
with help from tips through the website to see if it is heading for
scrapping in India or elsewhere in Asia.
The 'Gerd' is one of the top-50 ships highlighted on the
shipbreaking website. These vessels are likely to be scrapped soon
on Asian beaches. We have informed the ship owners that we will be
actively monitoring these ships and asking that ships be
decontaminated of all toxic substances like asbestos prior to
scrapping. By following the 'Gerd' to its final destination, we are
demonstrating that these ship owners intentionally endanger workers
and the environment by chasing big profits.