|Proposal and development of alternatives:||The NGO Shipbreaking Platform and its members call on the governments in ship-owning countries (in particular: the EU and its Member States, Japan, China, Singapore, and the US) to prohibit the export of end-of-life vessels to South Asian shipbreaking countries as long as:|
- end-of-life vessels contain significant amounts of hazardous waste;
- the shipbreaking countries cannot prove that all hazardous waste is removed, store, treated, disposed or destructed in a fully clean and safe way;
- working and living conditions of shipbreaking workers remain inadequate;
- shipbreaking does not take place in modern ship recycling facilities off the beach with minimum technical and infrastructural requirements allowing for the containment of pollutions and workers’ health and safety.
The NGO Shipbreaking Platform and its members call on ship owners, to only sell the end-of-life vessels to modern ship recycling facilities off the beach. In 2016, the European Commission will publish a list of clean and safe ship recycling yards, which responsible ship owners can use.
The NGO Shipbreaking Platform and the Sustainable Development Policy Institute recommend the following actions to the Federal and Provincial Governments, the shipbreaking industry as well as the relevant international organisations:
- The Federal Government together with the relevant provincial authorities should develop and implement a «Green Ship Recycling Strategy», that is a cross-departmental policy to formalise the sector and to allow for the much needed change towards clean and safe ship recycling off the beach and compliant with international and domestic law, based on guidance offered by the Basel Convention Secretariat, the ILO and the IMO.
- The Federal Government and the provincial authorities should seek advice from the international institutions, in particular the Basel Convention Secretariat, the ILO and the IMO, and build partnerships to finance the needed investments in infrastructure. As the investment needed for compliance with international standards, especially with regards to waste management, is beyond the financial capacity of the shipbreaking industry in Pakistan, development banks or the Global Environment Facility (GEF), for example, could assist Pakistan in altering its shipbreaking practices to become safe and clean.
- The «Green Ship Recycling Strategy» should provide a roadmap for investments in the technical infrastructure of the shipbreaking yards to allow for the transition towards safer methods off the beach (e.g. impermeable floors and drainage system, heavy lifting equipment, electricity and water supply).
- The Government of Pakistan should cooperate with the other shipbreaking countries in South Asia – India and Bangladesh – in a joint effort to exchange experience and alter shipbreaking practices so that competitiveness is not based on the lowest standards, but that instead a ‘level playing field’ is negotiated between shipbreaking countries.
- Taking into account already existing legal provisions, the Federal Government together with the Provincial Government need to develop a sector-specific «Regulation for Green Ship Recycling in Pakistan». The new Regulation needs to accommodate the overlaps in responsibilities between the national and provincial level with regards to legal requirements and the institutional framework after the 18th amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan (the decentralisation) and needs to clearly define the competent authorities’ roles.
- The new regulation should be based on a comprehensive review of existing legislation and a gap analysis, and should allow for the implementation of international obligations under the Basel Convention as well as the future Hong Kong Convention.
- The new regulation needs to set out the authorisation criteria for facilities, to establish a set of rules for facility operation, including the procedures to obtain permits for different kinds of hazardous work, clearly define which authority needs to issue certificates and approvals, and set up an effective facility inspection regime to ensure that shipbreaking only occurs in accordance with the regulation’s requirements.
- With regards to hazardous waste management, the “Green Ship Recycling Strategy” needs to include a plan to establish: a reception facility for operationally and non-operationally generated waste at a port close to the yards with a mandatory port call for all imported end-of-life vessels to perform cleaning activities such as cleaning cargo tanks, emptying bilge tanks, paint and chemical stores, and unloading waste oil and surplus fuel, waste storage on the yards, waste reception facilities such as a sanitary landfill, disposal treatment facility for hazardous waste such as PCBs, a system to track hazardous waste and to avoid the repartition into the market, establishment of a testing laboratory with portable equipment, regular monitoring of the presence of contaminants in soil, water, sediments and air.
- There is an immediate need for training, awareness-raising and capacity building for workers to ensure safe operations. The government should provide a training centre and seek the assistance of the Basel Convention Secretariat and ILO for further guidance on materials and the organisation of the training45.
- With regards to workers’ rights, health and safety and living conditions, and irrespective of trade union membership, the authorities need to accommodate for: the immediate implementation of the applicable laws relative to labour rights, notably the Factories Act 1934, the Industrial and Commercial Employment Ordinance 1968, the Industrial Relations Ordinance 2002, as well as relevant provisions of the Pakistan Constitution and the Pakistan Penal Code, the immediate improvement of workers’ living conditions including supply of drinking water and proper sanitation, the introduction of occupational health and safety procedures, the enforcement of the use of adequate PPE, a health care system for the workers including rapid access to a hospital, the availability of a medical insurance for workers, an adequate system for emergency response, the documentation of casualties, injuries, damages and occupational diseases and effective record-keeping, the provision of contracts or letter of appointments for workers and their automatic registration for social benefits.
- With regards to the dangers of asbestos, the sector-specific regulation needs to include strict requirements regarding OHS standards during removal, storage and disposal of asbestos to make sure that workers are not harmed and that elements containing asbestos cannot be re-sold. There is a need for regular medical check-ups. It is advisable to introduce a federal bill on asbestos safety.
- The responsible authorities need to monitor the implementation of laws and have enforcement mechanisms in place. This includes a training programme tailored for the designated officials including the judiciary. Compliance needs to be monitored especially with regards to: workers’ registration for social benefits, provision and use of personal protective equipment (PPE), application of environmental, health and safety procedures, use of obligatory on-site pollution control and safety gadgets, periodic monitoring of maintenance and improvements of on-site equipment, provision of sufficient, improved and satisfactory on-site health care system, adequate training status of workers and awareness of hazards, maintenance of hazardous waste inventory and disposal.
- The Government of Pakistan should ratify the Basel Ban Amendment and Hong Kong Convention and seek early com- pliance with the provisions under the latter. Moreover, the Government should ratify ILO Convention No. 187 and enforce all the provisions of the Basel Convention.
- The Government lease agreements with the economic operators should be conditional and binding to ensure that the operators comply with all provisions. The current lease amount is very low compared to the profit margins and should be adjusted accordingly. Both the revenue from leases and taxes should be invested in upgrading the facilities and the surrounding infrastructure.
- The State Bank of Pakistan should issue a directive to commercial banks for compliance with social and environmental safeguard policies and legislation with regards to loans given to the shipbreaking sector.
- The Federal Government should support a study to define the level and distribution of contamination in and around the shipbreaking yards, and develop an inventory of hazardous wastes (e.g. for the unmarked asbestos dumping grounds). It should identify “hot spots” that need to be cleaned up. It can seek the international organisations’ expertise and support for this task. The SBC (UNEP) has started a survey in that sense and the Federal Government should make sure they cooperate and access the information gathered.
- Both the Federal and Provincial Government need to promote unbiased research on the working conditions and the environmental impact of shipbreaking. They need to allow for transparency and enhance civil society involvement. Moreover, they should embrace the active participation of trade unions and promote their inde- pendent and democratic structures.