Ship-recycling waste: Efforts for saving -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Ship-recycling waste: Efforts for saving marine ecology pledged

Pakistan Press Foundation

ISLAMABAD: Experts and government representatives have pledged to jointly tackle degradation of marine and coastal ecosystems, caused by environmentally-damaging and unsustainable ship-recycling activities.

They were speaking at a two-day national policy workshop on “Hazardous waste assessment for environmentally-sound management of waste from ship-recycling in Pakistan” in Bhurban on Monday.

Speakers also underlined the need for concerted policy measures to protect THE country’s marine and coastal ecosystems from further aggravation by ensuring that ship-recycling activities were carried out in a scientific and environment-friendly manner, said a statement issued by Ministry of Climate Change (MoCC).

“We must realise that environmentally-sound management of waste from ship-breaking activities is inevitable to fight escalating pollution and the risks posed to sustainability of coastal and marine ecologies,” Ministry of Science and Technology Additional Secretary Muhammad Ashraf stressed.

He pointed out that there was a pressing need for setting standards and hammering out regulations in consultation with all relevant stakeholders.

MoCC Joint Secretary Iftikharul Hassan Shah Gilani urged all stakeholders to join government efforts to address escalating sea pollution.

“Pakistan is a signatory to a number of international conventions and protocols on various environmental issues, especially hazardous chemicals and wastes. In light of these, the ministry has already taken various policy measures for protection and conservation of environment and natural resources,” Gilani said.

“The policy measures have been lauded internationally,” he remarked.

Gilani further told the participants that to address the harmful effects of hazardous wastes and chemicals during the ship-recycling activities, MOCC had signed a memorandum of understanding with the Secretariat of Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, under which the ministry was given financial support of $279,843 for a project.

The project focuses on development of inventories of hazardous and non-hazardous wastes in Gadani ship-breaking yard, he said.

Susan Wingfield, programme officer at the Geneva-based Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, said Pakistan was not alone in South Asia as far as ship-recycling activities in environmentally-harmful manner was concerned.

“India and Bangladesh have not been fully able to have ship-dismantling activities in a scientific and environmentally-friendly manner,” she said.

“Lack of technical and scientific expertise is the major cause behind the grim state of ship-recycling in the region,” Wingfield added.

MoCC Deputy Director (Chemical) Dr Zaigham Abbas briefed about goals of the policy workshop.

Express Tribune