The government has almost finalised a policy to ensure that ship-breaking industry can operate without polluting the environment, the state minister for environment and forest said.
“Closing down the ship-breaking industry will turn the country into a market for foreign ironmongers,” said state minister Hasan Mahmud, adding, “We are working to establish a separate zone for this industry in line with the prime minister's directive."
Ruling Awami League lawmaker M Israfil Alam, however, disagreed with the minister and demanded immediate closure of the extremely hazardous and polluting industry of ship breaking.
Also chief of the parliamentary standing committee on labour and employment ministry Israfil said the High Court in Hyderabad in India has imposed a ban on all ship scrapping.
“Our High Court gave some directives for the ship breaking yards but the owners seldom comply with those directives. They are making our environment more vulnerable by bringing in abandoned ships loaded with asbestos which is very harmful for public health,” said the AL lawmaker.
In response, the state minister said import of scrapped ships have been allowed over the last few months as importers require clearance certificates that the ships do not carry any harmful substances.
“We are now working on how to dismantle the vessels and ensure safe and hazard free environment at the same time,” Hasan Mahmud said.