India emerges as the world's largest centre of ship-breaking with 415 ships demolished in the ship-breaking yards of Alang in 2011-12.
Another 150 giant behemoths, used to ferry millions of tons of goods across the globe but no longer seaworthy, are waiting there to be broken down, informs 'Asian Age'.
Pakistan has emerged as the number two ship-breaking country followed by Bangladesh and China, but in the latter country ships are broken in dry docks and not along the coast.
Gopal Krishna, heading Toxics Watch Alliance, said, “The number of ships allowed to enter the country are steadily rising because of the lax regulatory climate prevailing here. The ministry of shipping and the ministry of environment and forests are appraised of the matter but have taken no steps to ban this illegal activity.”
The Alang shipping yard has been described as an “industrial wasteland” where thousands of workers from UP, Jharkhand, Bihar and Orissa are tearing down these steel hulks risking injury and illness apart from being exposed to deadly fumes and other hazardous materials.
From 1983 to 2012, statistics collected by Toxics Watch Alliance show that 532 “toxic” ships have been broken down along the Gujarat coastline.
The Supreme Court has in the context of US ship (Exxon Valdez currently named MV Oriental) also issued a stern warning that end-of-life vessels ought not be allowed to dock in Indian waters unless they comply with the Basel Convention.