The ship breaking industry provides one of the clearest examples of exploiting the environment and workers for profit. But thanks to the exposure of this toxic trade and public pressure, the industry is slowly realising it must clean up its act. Help us maintain the pressure.
Workers at Alang shipbreaking yard.
When a ship reaches the end of its life it needs to be disposed
of. For something which maybe several stories high, hundreds of
metres long and full of various hazardous chemicals and explosive
fuel/gases, this is not an easy job. Most shipping companies take
the profitable option of selling the ships to scrap yards in Asia
where ships are broken up on beaches by workers using their bare
hands or minimal equipment. Hence the shipping company makes some
easy money and dumps the pollution from the ship in the developing
countries of Asia.
Some irresponsible shipping companies want to spread this toxic
trade to Africa. The beautiful Bolama beach in the west African
country of Guinea Bissau may soon be turned into a scrap yard for
old toxic ships, threatening nature and the lives of local people.
The beach is part of the Bijagos Archipelagos, classified as a
Biosphere Reserve by United Nations (UNESCO). In May we started an
online action to save the Bolama beach. It has already achieved an
initial result: after receiving thousands of messages from
concerned people from all over the world, UNESCO has sent a
research mission to assess the situation. But continued pressure is
necessary to make sure that UNESCO takes effective measures to
protect Bolama Beach.
Send a message now to stop the nature reserve being turned into a scrap yard.
companies behind this plan are some of the bad guys in the murky
world of the shipping industry. To shine a light on the dirty
business of selling ships for shipbreaking, we have developed a
unique new web game:
See if you know 'the tricks
of the trade'. You are the owner of the old ship "Rubbish
Queen" and you have to get rid of it. Can you make as much profit
as possible? Or do you care for the people and the environment? Try
to do better than most current ship owners.
Every year the number of ships for scrap increases. It is
estimated that by 2010, 3000 ships per year will be scrapped. To
pressure the industry to reform we have put 50 ships heading for
scrap under the spotlight. We asked the owners to commit to
cleaning the toxic material from the ships before selling them for
scrapping. Recently the first company from the list,
American/Norwegian ship owner Stolt Nielsen, committed
to prevent future pollution and health threats associated with
the breaking of ships. The company has a history of dumping
contaminated ships on Indian beaches. This company can prove that
ships can be disposed of without harming the environment and
endangering workers in the developing world.
Find out about the problems of
shipbreaking and the solutions. Also in Francias,