Brussels, 11 August 2015 – The NGO Shipbreaking Platform applauds CSR Netherlands, a Dutch-based network of companies, NGOs and researchers advocating for corporate social responsibility, for using SAIL Amsterdam 2015 to encourage children to learn more about sustainable ship recycling and about the conditions in which old ships are dismantled in South Asia. CSR Netherlands will set up a pop-up scrap yard from 19 to 23 August during SAIL Amsterdam, the Netherlands’ largest public event and the world’s largest free nautical event. Children will be encouraged to discover ship recycling by working with proper tools and dismantle small boats that have been decommissioned. They will help to sort scraps, as well as to label and separate the materials.
The pop-up scrap yard will show the reality on the ground in South Asia and illustrate the working conditions at the scrapping beaches in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. Impressive pictures taken by French photographer Pierre Torset showing toiling children, the dumping of hazardous waste and unprotected workers will be displayed as well.
“We hope that through this workshop, parents and children alike will learn more about the importance of sustainable ship recycling, and also about the adverse impacts of substandard beach-breaking on the workers and the environment in South Asia, ” says Patrizia Heidegger, Executive Director of the NGO Shipbreaking Platform, a coalition of 19 organisations working to promote safer and cleaner ship recycling. “In Bangladesh, we still find teenagers who work in the shipbreaking yards day and night, for little pay, and in dangerous working conditions. They are exposed to risks that could be avoided if the ships were dismantled in a proper way. It is often companies from Europe that send these ships, looking to make the biggest profit, with little regard for the workers or the environment.”
CSR Netherlands is part of an international corporate social responsibility (ICSR) umbrella programme financed by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Its role in the programme is to work with a group of small and medium-sized businesses and important stakeholders from six industries including the maritime sector to develop social and technical innovations and new sustainable production methods and to ensure optimum collaboration with chain partners. The experience gained during this programme will serve as an example and an inspiration to the industry as a whole.
“We want people to see that safety-conscious scrapping of vessels is possible, and that most of the materials can be reused, ” explains Mieke Bakker, Maritime Sector Manager at CSR Netherlands