In Parliament >> Broken up in Bangladesh

10th April 2013


Related Topics

Related tags

  • Pollution & Waste Management

Author

IEMA

Chris Davies, the Liberal Democrat environment spokesperson in the European parliament, outlines EU plans to ensure high standards in ship dismantling

It’s high tide. The captain orders “full speed ahead” and another enormous ship ploughs up a beach in Bangladesh or elsewhere in Asia. It’s broken up with no thought to hazardous materials or pollution.

Little heed is paid to the safety of bare-footed workers avoiding shards in the sand or the metal that rains down as torches cut through the hull. In this way owners secure the top price for their “old” vessels.

Exporting waste from the EU is illegal, yet each year more than 300 European ships end up like this instead of being recycled to high standards. At the end of their lives they are “reflagged” out of EU ownership. It is a massive loophole and, under international marine law, there’s nothing we can do about it. Standards would be raised if the 2009

Hong Kong Convention was ratified by all countries, but that is unlikely to happen soon.

A financial incentive is needed to encourage ship owners to do the right thing. The European parliament’s environment committee voted last month to create a recycling fund into which all large ships will pay a contribution every time they call at an EU port.

The fund will subsidise the difference in cost between having a vessel recycled in an EU-approved yard and being broken up on a beach.

Ports are complaining about the idea, fearing increased shipping charges and loss of business.

No-one likes the idea of imposing additional costs on the consumer, although over the typical 20–30 year lifespan of a ship the expense of safe disposal born by any single container of goods will be hard to detect. And I have yet to hear any critic propose a credible alternative.

The European parliament will vote on the proposal shortly. The current Irish presidency of the EU is keen to explore common ground between MEPs and ministers before the summer. Let’s see what progress can be made.

Subscribe

Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.


Transform articles

Four in five shoppers willing to pay ‘sustainability premium’

Despite cost-of-living concerns, four-fifths of shoppers are willing to pay more for sustainably produced or sourced goods, a global survey has found.

16th May 2024

Read more

Each person in the UK throws a shocking 35 items of unwanted clothes and textiles into general waste every year on average, according to a new report from WRAP.

2nd May 2024

Read more

Regulatory gaps between the EU and UK are beginning to appear, warns Neil Howe in this edition’s environmental legislation round-up

4th April 2024

Read more

Around 20% of the plastic recycled is polypropylene, but the diversity of products it protects has prevented safe reprocessing back into food packaging. Until now. David Burrows reports

3rd April 2024

Read more

A hangover from EU legislation, requirements on the need for consideration of nutrient neutrality for developments on many protected sites in England were nearly removed from the planning system in 2023.

2nd April 2024

Read more

Campaign group Wild Justice has accused the UK government of trying to relax pollution rules for housebuilders “through the backdoor”.

14th February 2024

Read more

Stella Consonni reports on the existing legal framework and the main challenges

15th January 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close