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Last Updated: Monday, 25 April, 2005, 16:27 GMT 17:27 UK
India urged to ban 'toxic ship'
Ship is dragged onto the beach at Alang in India. Pic: Greenpeace
Greenpeace says the Alang yard is an environmental hazard
The Indian government has been urged by the environmental campaign group, Greenpeace, not to allow a Danish ship carrying toxic waste to be scrapped.

Greenpeace says that the King Frederik IX ship, is carrying dangerous and carcinogenic asbestos insulation.

The vessel docked at the Alang ship breaking yard in the western state of Gujarat on Monday.

Greenpeace says that government officials are now examining the ship to see whether it has any toxic materials.

'Great concern'

The Danish government has urged India to refuse entry to the ship, because it is in breach of an international agreement to stop contaminated ships from sailing across the oceans.

A letter sent by the Danish Ministry of the Environment to the Indian minister for Environment and Forests says that the matter is of "great concern" to the Danish authorities.

A woman carrying asbestos on her head. Pic: Greenpeace
The Danish authorities are concerned about the asbestos danger

The letter says that the 51-year-old ship should be sent back to Denmark where it can be stripped of its hazardous waste.

"By doing this we can send a strong signal that neither India nor Denmark will accept the export of environmental problems that could be solved locally," the letter says.

"It will also show that our governments will not allow this kind of foul play which will result in lasting damage to the environment."

Greenpeace says it has also sent a letter to the Indian government asking it not to give permission for the vessel to be broken up in Indian territory.

"We are going to decide our future course of action only after the government decides what to do in this case," Greenpeace spokesman Ramapati Kumar told the BBC.

So far the Indian authorities have not commented on the controversy.

Greenpeace says the Alang ship-breaking yard has affected marine life and the health of local people.




SEE ALSO:
Greenpeace opposes India shipyard
07 Apr 05 |  South Asia
In pictures: India's ship-breakers
23 Mar 04 |  In Pictures
Asian draw for ship-breaking
14 Nov 03 |  Science/Nature
South Asia's ship graveyard
10 Dec 02 |  South Asia
Feature: Where the ships go to die
22 Apr 99 |  Crossing Continents


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