Shipbreaking Activities in Bangladesh and collision of Marine Biodiversity Prabal Barua Associate Program Officer YPSA
The marine environment of the coastal water is vital to mankind on a global as well as on local basis concerning energy. Man is becoming a dominant part of the ecosystem in many regions, due to his various uses of the marine environment. So the health of marine ecosystem is an important factor in man own existence. The Bay of Bengal which is a potential bode of marine life as well as for it’s vast coastal communities is now continually polluted by different types of pollutant through influx of land base and other sources and put an alarming signal of awareness about pollution in the sea. The coastal areas of Chittagong Support a complex trophic organization sustain a high biodiversity including some endemic species and are highly susceptible to interference from activities. Coastal ecosystem makes a sustainable livelihood particularly to coastal fishing communities. Ship breaking yards along the coast of Chittagong (Faujdarhat to Kumira) has become a paramount importance in the macro-and micro-economic context of poverty- stricken Bangladesh. Shipbreaking activities present both challenge and opportunity for coastal zone management in holistic manner. The history of ship breaking is as nearly old as shipbuilding. As we know that a ship is relatively a large vessel capable of operating in the deep ocean. The term ‘vessels’ applies to the vessels of over 5000 tons and that can navigate in open seas. In Bangladesh ship breaking is popularly known as ‘Beaching’. Ship breaking started as a business in Bangladesh in 1972.Prior to that, 2/3 ships were scrapped during Pakistan period. It started automatically when a 20000 DWT vessel was drive ashore by the devastating tidal bore of 1965.That was the first ship scrapped on the 2
Chittagong sea beach. At present, ship breaking is conducted in an area of about 10 km by 32 out of 110 ship Breaking yards from Bhatiari, Sonaichhari, kumira under the Sitakunda upazilla of Chittagong.
The Department of Environment (DoE) has categorized the Ship Breaking Industry (SBI) as ‘Red’ in 1995(EIA guidelines for the Industries, 1997). The Environmental Impact assessment (EIA) is not conducted before the establishment of SBI. As there is no monitoring cell, the Shipyard owners are operating their business overwhelmingly as well as indiscriminately. They are less conscious about hazards, toxicity and environmental pollution whereas more conscious about their benefit. Wastes of the scrapped ships are discharged directly into its adjacent areas which are ultimately draining into the Bay of Bengal. These wastes especially oil and oily substances, PCBs, TBTs, PAHs etc. and different types of trace and heavy metals (Cd, Pb, and Hg) are being accumulated into the marine biota. As a result, marine fisheries diversity of the Chittagong coast that supports highly diversified marine water fishes, mollusks and benthic organisms etc. is at the stake right at this moment. Moreover the Coastal inhabitants/fisher folks lead not only their livelihoods but also solely depend on the coastal resources for their protein source. The CPUE (Catch Per Unit effort) has drastically been reduced to more than half comparatively of a few decades ago. As a consequence, the coastal fisher folks are at the stake of their existence. They are either leaving their hereditary profession or migrating to other places and becoming ‘environmental refugees’. That is why their socio-economic status is below the poverty level. There are few studies was done to find out the linkage between Ship breaking activity (SBA) and the marine pollution, impact on fisheries biodiversity and livelihoods of the fishermen community. In those researches, investigators considered Bhatiary to Kumira as affected area and Sandwip Island as control area from the shipbreaking activity. The eastern side of Sandwip has been considered as...
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