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Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Taking responsibility for "toxic" ships
Greenpeace, Peter Mandleson MP + the GMB trade union are calling on the UK to stop sending "toxic" ships, containing asbestos or dangerous chemicals, to be scrapped in poor countries.

At present, it is common for poorly-paid workers, in countries such as India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, China + Turkey to be inadequately protected, and for the waste to be unsafely disposed of, while old ships are being dismantled.

As a result, Greenpeace is urging ship owners to start applying the so-called proximity principle, and to dispose of their waste locally, to the highest environment and labour standards.

As things stand, navies and shipping firms are able to sell their old ships into a network of traders, who then seek to maximise their profits... with the end result that hazardous ships often go to scrap-yards in countries with the lowest costs, weakest of laws + poorest standards.

You can visit Greenpeace's ship breaking site if you would like to find out more about this issue.