While our climbers completed the nine hour climb to hang the banner on the EU building we met with EU Environment Commissioner, Margot Wallstrom. She announced that the EU will do more to enforce existing laws to clean ships of hazardous materials before export for scrapping.
European Commissioner Walstrom accepts a ships bell from campaigners asking that the EU enforce laws to clean ships before scrapping in Asia.
At a press conference in Brussels, EU Commissioner Wallstrom,
acting on behalf of the Commission, accepted the bell of a
contaminated ship that was scrapped recently at the Alang yard in
India, given to her by Greenpeace and Mr Salim, and declared that
"After the Prestige and the rapid phase out of single hulled
vessels as decided on by the EU, we cannot dump our hazardous waste
in developing countries."
Wallstrom declared that Europe will act on the issue by taking
several initiatives. She stressed that European legislation that
covers this issue already exists but has not been implemented and
said that she would write to ministers of all European countries to
forcefully implement the European shipment on waste. She added that
the proposed reform of the transhipment of waste under the Basel
Convention, scheduled for approval on 30th June, is applicable to
ships for scrap.
"The European Commission's intention to stop this deadly trade
will be a relief to hundreds of people who gamble their lives daily
by scrapping ships that contain dangerous substances," said Mr
Salim, a shipbreaker from Bangladesh, in Brussels.
Ramapati, our Indian campaigner, summed up the three week tour
on shipbreaking: "I came to Europe with the hope that the shipping
industry would take action to address the problem of shipbreaking.
I became disillusioned fast - it is neither willing to spend the
time nor the money. Commissioner Wallstrom's progressive stand
today renews hope that vital international regulations will soon
come into effect and stop this clandestine toxic trade."