Bangladesh Ship Breaking Industry Heavy Metal Pollutants
Old vessels may contain many harmful substances like Heavy metals, Asbestos and polycarbonate phenyl (Pubs) that are banned in developed countries. However, ship-breaking has been encouraged in developing countries like Bangladesh for low labor cost and lax environmental rules. This results in toxic water. Accordingly, contaminated water kills many marine lives leading to a loss of biodiversity. Ship-Breaking industry is one of the manmade hazards in the coast of Bangladesh like many other developing countries.
It has a high importance in terms of its environmental impact, since it produces considerably large amounts of inorganic and organic chemicals. A major environmental problem in Ship-breaking industries is the discharge of these pollutants to the environment, causing pollution of sea water and nearby soil in the coastal zone of Chitchatting. 1 Although the age of ship breaking in Bangladesh is more than 3 decades, but primitive working conditions and the lack of necessary control mechanism generally cause the scrapping yards as a source of environmental and occupational health problems.
Again adopted preventative measures against the unsafe, primitive conditions of scrapping yards are still below standard. Naturally, human health is seriously affected through contact with this polluted water and consumption of sea food. Heavy metals disposed from ship-breaking yards poisoning are caused by consumption of this toxic water. To reduce the detrimental effect of ship-breaking on water, environment and health; and to ensure safe working environment at the yard, green ship recycling service that ensures safe removal and disposal of hazardous materials on board, has been designed.
It requires proper planning and preparation. To ensure safe water and control water pollution, many a policy has been formulated in Bangladesh. This includes policies for safe water supply and sanitation of 1998, National Water Policy 1999, National Water Management Plan (NEWT), National Policy for Arsenic Mitigation of 2004, Coastal Zone Policy of 2005, and Ship Breaking and Ship Recycling Rules 2011.
For lack of proper implementation strategies, existing policies are not able to mitigate water pollution to the desired extent. Also, some policies lack strategic vision in relation to safe and mandatory industrial disposal system in the industrial policy, 2010. To overcome this situation, proper and effective implementation of the existing policies should be ensured and appropriate strategic vision should be incorporated in every policy. Otherwise the aspiration with which we attended ROI+20 will remain unrealized.
Problem Statement of ship-recycling industries in Bangladesh Although, the basic construction material of ocean going ships is harmless structural and non-structural steel, but ship dismantling activities generate lots of other trials like non-ferrous metallic materials, glass and wood, polymeric and composite materials, sludge water, oil, undifferentiated materials as well as solid substances such as mineral wool like asbestos. Among them Heavy metals are most dangerous because is a threat to both terrestrial and marine environment as well as to the public health.
Ship-recycling industry of Bangladesh has been in the dominating position since last decades. But, the general practice based on the collected information in the dismantling yards in Bangladesh has identified the heavy metals of safe working reactive and sufficient control mechanism is one of the main sources of environmental and health threats. Existing problems may be categorized in the following broad headings: 1 . Safety Problems: Lack of labor safety is one of the generally unskilled and sometimes, they do not have even any basic training for this risky Job like ship-recycling.
Non compliance of the safety issues during cutting operation causes various kinds of accident. Figurer : Accident statistics of ship-recycling yard in Bangladesh 2. Health Problems: Although ship breaking is one of the most hazardous activities of any maritime industry, but most of the workers in ship breaking yards in Bangladesh have no basic knowledge about the impact of ship scrapping on health. As a result, particular hazard exposure especially generated by heavy metals causes serious health problems of the worker dealing with ship breaking industry.
A study (Hosing, 2008) on occupational health of workers working in Bangladesh ship breaking industry confirmed that most of the workers were found to suffer from multiple disease and health hazard. Abdominal, urinary, muscle and skin problems as well as nutritional deficiency were also identified among the workers which were mainly caused due to OIC metal, chemical contamination and as well as excessive workload, long working hour, monotonous works, irregular eating, insufficient diet, unsafe and drinking water.
Heavy metals disposed from ship-breaking yards not only results in birth defects and different types of cancer. Even, immune suppression, reproductive failure and acute poisoning are caused by consumption of this toxic water. 3. Environmental Problems: About 52% of big ships of the world are dismantled in Bangladesh. Different types of disposable materials and rubbish are disposed and spilled from scrapped ships in a way that they often get mixed with the beach soil ND sea water around. This way of disposal has a negative impact on our coastal environment and as well as marine biodiversity.
Moreover physical, chemical & biological characteristics of the area are severely degraded. However, the extraction processes required itself represent a constant threat to the environment and human health. Further, the methods adopted in the extraction and demolition processes are sometimes beyond environmentally safe procedures. And to ensure safe working environment at the yard some policy has been formulated in Bangladesh. This includes Coastal Zone Policy of 2005, and Ship Breaking and Ship Recycling Rules 2011.
For lack of proper implementation strategies, existing policies are not able to reduce the detrimental effect of ship- breaking on water, environment and health to the desired extent. Also, these policies lack strategic vision in relation to safe and mandatory industrial disposal system in the industrial policy, 2010. So we need proper implementation of existing policies for safe shipwrecking and additionally, we must focus on improving environmental friendly biotechnological approach to mitigate the Heavy metal pollutants discharged from the shipwrecking yard in Bangladesh.
This study tries to draw attention to the effects of most hazardous heavy metal pollutants discharged from shipwrecking yard and a need for applying environmental Objective of the Study The objective of this study is to find out the effects of most hazardous heavy metal pollutants discharged from shipwrecking yard on water, environment and human health. At the same time depict an attention for applying environmental friendly biotechnological approach for heavy metal mitigation. Definition of Ship-recycling The ship breaking and recycling industry (SIBS) converts end-of-life ships into steel ND other recyclable substance.
Ship breaking is the process of cutting and breaking apart old ships to recycle scrap metals, along with simultaneous scrapping or disposal of expired or unused ships. Ship-recycling is defined as the activity of entire or partially dismantling of a ship at ship breaking yard in order to recuperate components and materials for reprocessing and re-use. Ship recycling offers the most environmentally sustainable way of disposing of old vessels, with virtually every part of the hull and machine complex being reused or recycled as scrap metal. Overview of Ship breaking in Bangladesh
Ship Recycling Industry in Bangladesh In Bangladesh ship breaking activities initiated in 1969 but the sector veteran a boom in the sass. As developed countries like the United Kingdom, Spain, Scandinavian countries, Brazil, Taiwan, South Korea wanting to get rid of an industry which was not in compliance with the new environmental protection standards, Bangladesh industrialists took the opportunities allured by huge profit. Businessmen involved in the industry imported more and more ships and Bangladesh began to play a preponderant role progressively.
As a result within petite period Bangladesh established monopoly in the international market of big ship scrapping. Ship breaking activities in Bangladesh is concentrated in Sustains (Battery to Barilla), Just north of Chitchatting city on the Bay of Bengal. Statistics show that about 52% of big ships are dismantled in Bangladesh (DON 1999). There are 24 ship breaking yards in Bangladesh and the area extends over 14 km along Bucharest to Kumara coast of Chitchatting (YAPS 2005).
Figure 2: Location of ship-recycling yards as well as inland class shipbuilding industries & workshops Some of the world’s largest decommissioned ships are today scraped at the shores Roth of Chitchatting, which is the second largest city and major sea port in the country. Some of the ships are 350 meter long with a weight up to 10-15. 000 tons. It were scrapped in Bangladesh during the period 2000-2010. Bangladesh was the top ship recycling nation from 2004-2009. Bangladesh became the second in 2012, scrapping around 270 ships.
Bangladesh dismantling 210 ships in 2013, became the third largest ship breaking nation in the world. Figure 3: Contribution of Bangladesh share of ship-recycling in 2011 Economic benefit of SABA The ship breaking and recycling industry plays a significant economic role in Bangladesh and potentially creating economic opportunities for thousands of laborers and contribute to the economic growth of regions in need of private sector investment. To the extent possible 100% of the ship is recycled (Fig. ). Ship breaking activities is of great importance in national economy of Bangladesh as it saves a lot of foreign exchange by reducing the import of steel materials. SIBS provides more than half of Bangladesh steel supply, for example, making it a strategic industry in that country. Ship scrapping supply raw materials to the steel mills, steel plate re-manufacturing, asbestos re-manufacturing, lubricating, oil generation and other industries. Bangladesh Government earns annual revenue of about TX. 00 core from ship breaking each year by imposing duties (7. 5%), yards tax (2. 5%), etc. Ship breaking activities offers direct employment opportunities to about 25,000 people. Moreover, another 200,000 people are also engaged in different business related to ship breaking activities (YAPS 2005). Bangladesh needs 8 million tons of building materials per year in which mostly needed materials is iron and ship breaking activities is supplying 60-70% iron materials of the country (Ironing 2000), Hough exact statistics are not yet known.
Along the road from Chitchatting to Dacha several shops display various materials of ship breaking products. Figure 4: Distribution channel of scrapped items from ship breaking activities (Hosing 2009). Steps involved in ship breaking The ship breaking process starts a long way from the Bangladesh coast. A general procedure of shipwrecking used in Bangladesh is given bellow: Though ship breaking has earned a good reputation for being profitable in developing countries but it bothers least about the environment and human health hazards (Table 1).
Depending on their size and function, scrapped ships have an unloaded weight of between 5,000 and 40,000 tones (an average of 13,000+), 95% of which is steel, coated with between 10 and 100 tones of paint containing lead, cadmium, irrigation, arsenic, zinc and chromium. Ships also contain a wide range of other hazardous wastes (Tables 2), sealants containing Pubs; up to 7. 5 tons of various types of asbestos; several thousand liters of oil (engine oil, bilge oil, hydraulic and lubricating oils and grease). Tankers additionally hold up to 1,000 cubic meters of residual oil.
Most of these materials are already defined as hazardous waste under the Basel Convention. In Asia, old ships containing these materials are being cut up by hand, on open beaches, under inhumane working conditions (Fig. 6). Figure 6: A usual picture of inter-tidal area where cargo ships wait for dismantling. Table 1 : Common environmental and human health hazards those are discharged from shipwrecking yard. (OIL 2003). Environment and human health hazardous substances Heavy and toxic metals(lead, mercury, copper, zinc etc. Pubs & PVC (combustion products) Asbestos fibers,dusts cadmium, Ergonomically substances tribunal, etc. Volatile organic compounds (solvents) Welding fumes Lack of hazard communication (storage, Inhalation in confined and enclosed space labeling, material safety data sheets) Batteries, fire-fighting liquids Compressed gas cylinders Table 2: Wastes and substances that may be inherent in the vessel structure source: UNEVEN 2002, OIL 2003, OSHA 2001 There is no disagreement in home and abroad that ship breaking is a high-risk industry. By any standards, the demolition of ships is a dirty and dangerous occupation. The hazards linked to ship breaking broadly fall into two categories: 1. Taxation by dangerous substances and 2. Accidents on the plots. Explosions of leftover gas and fumes in the tanks are the prime cause of accidents in the yards. Another major cause of accident is the fall from the ships (which are up to include workers being crushed by falling steel beams and plates, electric shock, etc. (FIDE 2002). The unskilled workers carry metal plates, metal bars or pipes on their bare heads or shoulders, start walking in synchronized steps with the rhythm of the singers call up to a definite destination and then pile up metal plates in stack yards or load them on trucks (Fig. ). Figure 7: Cutting of large metal into pieces. Heavy Metal Pollutants discharged from ship breaking and related human health effects The ship breaking activities is a threat to both terrestrial and marine environment as well as to the public health as it a mini version of city and discharges every kind of pollutants a metropolis can generate like liquid, metal, gaseous and solid pollutants. Heavy metals are found in many parts of ships. Such as in paints, coatings, anodes and electrical equipment.
The following heavy metals are part of old ships scrapped by workers without the correct protective equipment. These parts are often dumped or burnt on the beaches causing widespread pollution of the area. Heavy metal concentration in the soil sample taken by DON(2001) from the ship breaking area of Chitchatting except for Iron(Fee) were all found to be far above the background level. Especially for Copper(Cue), Lead(BP) and Zinc(Zen), the values are high. The high concentrations were all found to be reflecting heavy metals typically found in paints.
Table 3: Comparison on the contamination level of toxic heavy metals in water and sediment at the coastal area of ship breaking and Reference zone (mean values). : Islam and Hosing 1986; SEES: Environmental Quality Standard values for Bangladesh This study clearly shows that almost all the toxic metals in and around ship breaking area (SST. 2 through SST. 6) are quite high in concentration compared to relatively undisturbed area, the reference zone (SST. 1).
The results of the present toxic metal analysis in sediment also shows nearly 2-6 times higher contamination than that of the water samples from the investigated area (Table 5), with few exceptions and in maximum cases, exceeded the values for coastal water of Bangladesh (SEES 1991) and SESAME values for coastal sediments. Mercury Mercury, a highly toxic heavy metal exists in various forms including metallic contamination brought about by natural and man-made activities is clearly a growing problem today. The level of mercury found in the soil of ship breaking area of Chitchatting ranges from 0. MGM/ keg to 3. 0 MGM/keg, where the background value is only 0. 1 MGM/keg in do (DON,2001). Impacts: This toxic heavy metal affects the nervous system. In 1956, the first recognized mercury poisoning outbreaks occurred, called “Inanimate disease”. This is a disorder of the central nervous system caused by the institution of fish and shellfish contaminated with methyl mercury. Clinical manifestation differs from inorganic mercury poisoning in which the kidneys and the renal system are damaged. Young children are most vulnerable.
Long term exposure to low levels can cause irreversible learning difficulties. Mercury can also cause mental retardation and delayed neurological and physical development (Greenback, 2005, Riviera et. Al. 2003, Hosing, 1994). Anaerobic organisms bio-transform the inorganic form to methyl mercury which gets bio-accumulated in food chain. It’s the most toxic form of mercury. Adverse health effects depend on its chemical form, route of and duration of exposure. Enzymes, receptors, membranes and structural proteins are affected. There is multiple organ failure.
Some of the symptoms of mercury poisoning are summarized. At high concentrations, vapor inhalation produces acute engineering bronchitis, pneumonia’s, and death. Long term exposure affects central nervous system (CANS). – Early: insomnia, forgetfulness, anorexia, mild tremor – Late: progressive tremor and rhythms (red palms), emotional liability, and memory impairment – Salivation, excessive sweating, renal toxicity (proteins, or nephritic syndrome) Gastrointestinal ulceration or perforation and hemorrhage are rapidly produced, followed by circulatory collapse. Breakdown of mucosa barriers leads to increased absorption and distribution to kidneys (proximal tubular necrosis and anural). – Accordion (Pink disease) usually from dermal exposure – macromolecular rash, swollen and painful extremities, peripheral enumerator, hypertension, and renal tubular dysfunction. – Signs progress from parenthesis to ataxia, followed by generalized weakness, visual and hearing impairment, tremor and muscle spastic, and then coma and death.
Teratology with large chronic exposure – Asymptomatic mothers give birth to severely affected infants – Infants appear normal at birth, but psychosomatic retardation, blindness, deafness, and seizures develop over time. Thus, exposure to inorganic and organic mercury is associated with egocentricity, Territoriality, and embryo toxicity. In the GIG track, acute poisoning A Position Paper 10 results in sloughing away of the mucosa with pieces of intestinal mucosa appearing in the stool. In chronic intoxication there is mercury line at the gangling border similar