Achieving environmentally safe ship-breaking activities pledged
ISLAMABAD—Stakeholders have pledged to join government’s efforts for achieving Sustainability of shipbreaking activities while ensuring conservation and protection of coastal and marine ecosystems in the coastal areas of the country.
Coastal and marine ecosystems were exposed Sunday to an escalating contamination of seawater and marine ecology because of the ship-dismantling activities, which are carried out not in conformity with environmental safeguards, they emphasised at a national consultative policy workshop on Sustainable and EnvironmentallySound Management of Waste from Ship-Recycling In Pakistan.
Role of investors in ship-breaking activities and owners of the Gadani Shipbreaking yards was vital to the conservation efforts, Muhammad Ashraf, additional secretary at the ministry of science and technology, highlighted in his keynote speech to the participants of the consultative workshop.
He said, “Thousands of tonnes of hazardous waste was piling up at Gadani shipbreaking yard in Balochistan’s coastal area, which badly harmed the marine ecosystem, overall environment, the life of workers at the shipbreaking yards and those live around the area, environmentalist,”
“There is a pressing need to put in place facilities in consultation with relevant stakeholders to handle hazardous waste in scientific and environmentallysafe manner to save shipbreaking activities from any punitive action/ban under the European Union’s certain regulations,” Ms. Susan Wingfield told the workshop participants, who is programme officer at the Geneva-based Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions.
She pointed out that the main reason behind the growth of shipbreaking industry in Pakistan is comparatively low cost of labour, weak implementation of laws pertaining to environmental protection, workers’ rights. “Yet, we would help Pakistan in all possible ways to save its marine and coastal ecologies by making the ship-breaking activities environmentally-safe.
Joint Secretary (International Cooperation), the Climate Change Ministry, Iftikhar-ul-Hasan Shah Gilani said the basic responsibility for clean and safe ship recycling lies with the ship owners, who have commercially benefited from vessels. “Therefore, they must show their will and play their part in achieving the goal of shipdismantling activities environmentally-safe,” he stressed. The joint secretary Gilani highlighted that the present government is committed to making shipbreaking industry a ‘green’ and environmentally-safe by following the mechanized system of dismantling in compliance with available legislative frameworks without harming employment of workers.—Agencies