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IMO members take pictures of the ship Blue Lady at the Alang shipyard
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Is the IMO conning India?

April 25, 2009

As long the ship breaking operations has continued on Alang's beach, there has not been and there will never be safety either for the workers or for the coastal environment.

The IMO diplomatic conference is scheduled during May 11-15, at a time when the entire Indian government machinery will remain occupied with the national parliamentary elections.

In any case, the proposed treaty is an attempt to undo the work of the global environmental movement that had attempted to legislate and regulate, through the UN's Basel Convention, the control of transboundary movements of hazardous wastes and their disposal, which has been endorsed by the Supreme Court of India.

A powerful shipping industry -- with the help of the governments of Norway, Japan and Greece in particular -- were deeply perturbed that they might no longer be able to escape the decontamination cost and profit at will by externalising the cost of pollution.

So they insisted the Basel Convention was incompetent to manage the issue.

Image: IMO members take pictures of the ship Blue Lady at the Alang shipyard. Greenpeace says Indian shipyards like Alang lack new technology to safely handle toxic waste in ships they scrap. | Photograph: Amit Dave/Reuters

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