The French warship Clemenceau, a decommissioned aircraft carrier, is headed towards Alang for scrapping, unless the Indian judiciary halts its progress. The Clemenceau is reported to have upto 1000 tonnes of asbestos and other toxic chemicals like lead and mercury. Similar operations on the ship have been aborted in Spain, Greece and Turkey. Egypt stopped the ship in international waters for three days before hectic diplomatic parleys allowed the ship to use the Suez canal.
Alang, in Gujarat, is one of the largest ship-breaking yards in Asia. It provides a livelihood to an estimated forty thousand workers. However, as with many industries in India, its safety standards are dangerously below par. Allowing the Clemenceau into Alang sorely for economic considerations would have a deadly, irreversible impact on the shipyard workers’ health and the marine ecosystem in and around Alang.
Those involved in the decision making loop should :
- Ask why three European Union nations refused the Clemenceau to be broken down in their territory and why Egypt balked for three days before allowing the ship passage through its waters.
- Evaluate the quantity of toxic content on the ship (asbestos, lead, mercury, electronic component waste and so on) and its impact on the workforce and environment.
- Ask the French to provide an honest (yeah right!) answer to this – Why wasn’t the Clemenceau scrapped in their own or any First World nation?
Bhise has put up a petition. The details may be a bit skewed, but the intention’s all that is important – go here to sign it.
Maneka Gandhi is so busy throttling the Indian film industry (along with the Health Ministry, of course), that she’s probably forgotten that animals exist along the Gujarat coast. Petitions like this and the Indian judiciary (the French judiciary has given the greenlight to the Clemenceau) are our only hope.