Report on the environmental impact of ship breaking method at Alang, Gujarat, 17/09/2020
Affidavit on behalf of Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in the matter of Conservation Action Trust & Others Vs Union of India & Others, 17/09/2020.
The matter relates to conducting an environmental audit to ascertain environment impact due to beaching method and ship breaking method used at Alang Ship Recycling Yard and also to verify the compliance of Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification in compliance to the National Green Tribunal (NGT) order of August 19, 2019.
In response to the NGT order, the MoEFC&CC asked the CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) to conduct the audit. The CSIR-NIO submitted a report on 'Marine environmental monitoring and verification for compliance of CRZ Notification at Alang Ship Recycling Yard.'
The report is based on the study conducted during February-March 2020 to meet the following three objectives:
- To evolve prevailing status of water quality, sediment quality and flora and fauna of project area
- To assess the impact of pollution due to ship breaking activities on the coastal ecology of Alang
- To assess the compliance of CRZ notification
The report said that in general, the ecology of coastal water of Alang is seen similar to that of surrounding area of Bhavnagar and Dahej and it compares well with earlier studies of 2007-08 in Alang area. The adverse impact of ship breaking activities on water quality, sediment quality and biological characteristics was not significant except a certain intertidal region showing high concentration of petroleum hydrocarbons (PHC) and some metals.
Phytoplankton and zooplankton values showed natural variability and not influenced by ship breaking activities. Influence of ship-breaking activities on intertidal macrobenthic fauna resulting poor standing stock, was localized at Alang. The results of bio accumulation suggest that the concentration of all the metals are within the specified values for human consumption, except Fe.
The report recommended that to confirm the impact of ship breaking activities on the ecology of Alang, the long-term monitoring is essential. The report noted that there was significant improvement in ship-recyling yards with respect to safety, security, health and environment. However, the living area of most of the ship breaking workers was poor in regards to infrastructure and sanitization.
Although, around 70% recycling yards have adapted Hong Kong Convention (HKC) compliance to get green category certificate, many yards needs to be upgraded to curtail pollution and enhance the security.