Big ship tra$h

by

Yesterday we reported on rad trash activist Yuyun Ismawati being awarded one of this years Goldman Environmental Prizes. One of Ismawati’s fellow recipients, Syeda Rizwana Hasan, is also truly worthy of praise.

Hasan, a lawyer, works on behalf of the 20,000+ ship breaking workers dismantling ships in yards on the shores of Bangladesh, work that is being carried out under enormous hazards. Think lead paint counted by the tonnes, and any other toxic you might find on a ship, you see, they arrive as is. According to Hasan’s bio on the Goldman Prize web, one worker dies each week. As with electronic tra$h, which we’ve talked about in several posts, ship tra$h is a very lucrative business. Somewhere out there sits a gang of ship dismantling fat cats, with blood on their diamond credit cards.

Hasan’s work has led to, among other things, increased government legislation and increased public awareness. Last month, 36 ship yards were closed following tightened regulations instituted by the Bangladesh Supreme Court. For these achievements, we lift our hats off for Hasan, and hope that increased publicity might make ship owners think twice, before sending their used-up naval transportation units to the coast of Bangladesh, where incidentally the rare Irawaddy dolphin seems to be making a comeback.

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5 Responses to “Big ship tra$h”

  1. New Dream Blog » Blog Archive » Trash Destinations: Ship Breaking Workers in Bangladesh Says:

    […] Hat tip: Everyday Trash […]

  2. Princess Obriot Says:

    Funny isnt it? An activist boldly brings an action to a halt, and we praise him. But what about the boats meant for decommission? I don’t question whether the working atmosphere was unsafe, given its location I would be surprised if it were otherwise. But again what of the boats? They still are better to be stripped of their resources and recycled. Thats is a far better plan then doing nothing. Would it not have been better if our activist urged for better working conditions? Better safety precautions? better handling of toxic materials?
    Some years ago a group of activist protesting circus animals broke into the compound one night and managed to set loose 2 tigers and an elephant in down town Atlanta. 1 tiger was shtruck by a car and was killed, the other was shot down. The elephant was hit by a truck and had to be uthonized because of a broken foot. Was their fate better off due to the actions of the activists? I’ve worked with animals, I imagine those last few momenst were the most frightening.
    Stopping a thing doesn’t make a thing better. Its too easy to point a finger judge another’s actions and clamour that others act out your will (its only another form of witch hunt; but to be bold enough to invent a better way….
    Its time ACTION took on a new face. Be apart of the solution rather continue to be apart of the problem.

  3. Princess Obriot Says:

    In all my passions, I do want to add…

    Trash is a big problem, most probably the biggest of all problems, yet the least acknowledged.

    Thank you for being one of the bold enough to speak out about it…
    just dont forget to stoop down every once in a while to pick up a piece of trash.

    thanks and warm winds

  4. Victor Bernhardtz Says:

    I would say that the closing of 36 ship yard doesn’t necessarily mean that ships were not stripped anymore, but rather that space opens for ship decommission companies that actually prevent their workers from dying from their business. Ultimatley, the responsabilty also lies with whoever ships the ship off to a deadly or safe ship yard. I fully agree ships must at some point stop roaming the seas, but not at the prize of people dying for it.

    Some things must indeed be stopped, and I don’t think it’s up to Ms. Hazan to start up big businesses to take care of things once the killing yards are gone, the responsability doesn’t lie with her or the workers.

    Vegan as I am, I fully agree that it’s foolish to let domesticated tigers run amok in traffic, since they will most likely die in the end, but leaving the circus to it’s business will also in the end kill the tigers, after a long life of humiliation and suffering. There are, luckily, options. Banning live animals in circus is part of the sollution, as are nature preserves where they can live out their lives in relative peace.

    Warm winds back, and believe us, we stoop down and pick up loads of trash. It’s the only thing we care for anyway, haha!

  5. European Union to take responsibility for their big ship trash? « everydaytrash Says:

    […] for their big ship trash? By Victor Bernhardtz Remember we posted earlier this year about big ship tra$h? Apparently, the European Union (currently under the ever so Swedish-holier-than-thou presidency) […]

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