Health Checks on Workers Dismantling ‘Blue Lady’ in Gujarat

by VR Sreeraman on  June 15, 2007 at 3:01 PM General Health News
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Health Checks on Workers Dismantling ‘Blue Lady’ in Gujarat
Health check-ups of workers dismantling Norwegian cruise liner "Blue Lady", carrying hazardous asbestos, is being carried out in Alang, a shipbreaking yard in Gujarat.

During a four-day medical camp, experts of the National Institute of Occupational Health will also impart training to the workers in cautious handling of toxic material and use of protective masks.

"Earlier, there were no such things but since the anchoring of Blue Lady there are some health scares. That's why we are getting a medical check-up," said Dharmendra Yadav, a worker.

The medical authorities conducted a general check-up of all the employees working at the shipbreaking yard.

"The atmosphere is considered hazardous for the workers. So a government sponsored team has come here to do a medical check up of the workers," said G.B. Makwana, a doctor with Alang medical hospital.

Earlier, the Supreme Court had allowed the ship to enter Indian waters, but put a hold on it's dismantling, pending a report by an expert panel on the quantum of toxic wastes on board.

Beaching was permitted after Indian experts had given the go ahead for the scrapping of the controversial cruise liner, which environmentalists say contains toxic material harmful to ship-breakers.

The team of 15-members, of the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB), National Institute of Occupational Health (NIOH) and Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) gave clearance after the committee carried out a five-day inspection of the ship.

Greenpeace and other groups had raised concern and protested over the Blue Lady. According to them, 46,000-tonne cruise liner, which anchored in June off the Alang ship-breaking yard, contains more than 900 tonnes of asbestos which would put the health of workers at risk.

A recent Greenpeace report said that thousands of ship breakers in countries such as India, China and Pakistan had probably died in the past two decades from accidents or exposure to toxic waste.

In February last year, France recalled its decommissioned aircraft carrier Clemenceau after an outcry over the asbestos it contained.

But the Gujarat Maritime Board, which leases out the yards in Alang, says they can handle toxic and hazardous waste.

Source: ANI

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She will meet her in some how on the beach where she is now, perhaps a fire will rage through her before the 26ht July. Either way the law means nothing here and they will break her up. This even though $45m has been offerd for her.

Asbestos, PCBs and radioactive waste laden ship named Blue Lady cannot be safely decontaminated by Indian workers. The next date of hearing in in the illegal traffic of SS Blue Lady/SS Norway/ Hazardous Wastes matter is on 26th July, 2007 in the Supreme Court of India. The ship owners Star Cruise through its proxy buyers have indulged in fraudulent misrepresentation. The Gujarat Pollution Control Board and Gujarat Maritime Board have to comply with the 14 October, 2003 Court order in the Hazardous Wastes case that makes prior decontamination of ships in the country of origin mandatory. Panchayats (village councils) are the most important adversely affected party which are in the vicinity of Alang ship breaking yard besides the workers. As per the existing rules import and export of asbestos waste is banned in India. Ban Asbestos Network of India and Platform on Shipbreaking has raised the issue in India. It is a fact that the use of asbestos has been banned in some 45 countries.

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