Success as EU promises to tackle dirty industry

Background - 20 June, 2003
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."

Back to main story