SHIP-BREAKING YARDS IN BANGLADESH AND THE ENVIRONMENT: AN ANALYSIS OF THE EXISTING LEGAL FRAMEWORKKudrat-e-Khuda (Babu) and Talukdar Rasel Mahmud
Ship-breaking is one of the highly polluting industries which produce hazardous waste while dismantling an obsolete ship. Though the industry has been causing huge damage to the environment, it has earned a reputation as a profitable business in developing countries like Bangladesh. In addition to serious environmental pollution, human health abuses and human rights abuses take place frequently at shipbreaking yards. As the chemicals and hazardous materials of scrap are not managed in the environmentally sound way at the ship-breaking yards, oil excesses and other refuse from ships are spilled and mixed with soil and water, causing extensive pollution to the environment and threatening the coastal life and marine biodiversity. The ship-breaking activities also have a severe impact on human health, directly to the workersâ, food chain, physicochemical properties of seawater, intertidal sediments and soil, and above all on biodiversity. Despite the hazardous level of environmental pollution due to unplanned ship-breaking in Bangladesh, no significant or effective steps are taken or there is no clear or specific law to prevent ongoing pollution. The existing environmental laws are not enough to address the issue and its implementations are also largely absent in Bangladesh, the most vulnerable country to climate change. So, the existing laws and frameworks are not effective enough to address the cause of pollution by ship-breaking and its prevention. This article aims to determine the causes of pollution due to the ship-breaking and its impacts on the environment and livelihood; to scrutinize the prevailing related laws and policies and to conclude with recommendations to stop ship-breaking-related pollution in Bangladesh. The paper makes use of secondary data i.e. books, articles, different national and international law reports, acts etc.