Ship Recycling Workshop seeks to improve Pakistan's ability to convert end-of-life ships into recyclable materials and dispose of hazardous wastes safely
Geneva, 16 July 2010 - Recycling the end-of-life ships is a major industry that is a source of steel and other recyclable items. While the industry provides an important source of raw materials and employment to the countries in which it is based, there is concern about the environmental, health and safety standards employed in the dismantling and recycling of vessels that can contain substances ranging from asbestos to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).
In an effort to improve the health, safety and environmental standards in the ship-
recycling industry in Pakistan, the United Nations Environment Programme's
Secretariat of the Basel Convention convened a three-day international workshop on Ship
Recycling Technology and Knowledge Transfer in Izmir, Turkey.
The workshop, which was held in cooperation with the Government of Turkey and the Ship Recyclers' Association of Turkey, ended today with progress being made on strengthening the understanding of the Convention's role in the international regulatory regime of ship recycling.
The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal has been involved in the issue of ship recycling since the late 1990s. While the Convention applies to the recycling of end-of-life ships, it has been difficult to enforce over the years due to its provisions.
In May 2009, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopted the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships. The Convention, which has yet to come into force, places specific requirements on ships from their design and construction to their operation and recycling.
The South Asian region, namely India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, dominates the global ship-recycling industry, currently occupying 70 to 80 percent of the market, with China and Turkey occupying much of the remainder.
A delegation from Pakistan attending the UNEP workshop was comprised of representatives of both Government and industry. They sought to learn from the improvements made in the ship-recycling industry in Turkey and implement the practical, regulatory and institutional changes back home in Pakistan.
The workshop has been an opportunity to assist the Government of Pakistan and its industry to improve its regulatory, institutional and infrastructural capacity to fulfill the requirements of the Hong Kong Convention and the relevant requirements of the Basel Convention in relation to ship recycling, particularly those dealing with the downstream management of hazardous and other wastes.
"We believe that this workshop does not only address needs of individual countries or regions, but will also contribute towards defining the respective scopes of the two international conventions and will in this way enable a better and clearer international regulatory regime," said Dr. Nikos Mikelis of the IMO.
Speaking of the initiative in Izmir, Ms. Katharina Kummer Peiry, Executive Secretary of the Basel Convention, remarked: "There is a real willingness on the part of the Pakistani Government and industry to make improvements to this important industry and bring about enduing changes to the prevailing safety, health and environmental conditions in Gadani. We are thus grateful to the Government of Turkey and the Ship Recyclers' Association of Turkey for extending a helping hand at this crucial time of need."
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