Lok Sabha passes bill to regulate ship recycling; minister says legislation will have economic benefits

New Delhi [India], Dec 3 (ANI): The Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed a bill that restricts the use of hazardous materials on ships and regulates their recycling with Union Minister for Shipping Mansukh L Mandaviya saying that the legislation will benefit the country economically.

The Recycling of Ships Bill, 2019, was passed with a voice vote.

Mandaviya said extensive discussions had been held so that the provisions of the bill were "labour centric" and "environment centric".

He said norms had been clearly laid out for dealing with hazardous waste on ships that come for recycling.

Mandaviya said, "India is a leader in the global ship recycling industry with a share of over 30 per cent and the passage of the bill will open more opportunities. India has decided to accede to the Hong Kong International Convention for Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, 2009."

He said acceding to the convention will lead to more ships coming to the country for recycling including from countries like Norway and Japan.

"India will gain economically. There is nothing to worry. It is in the country's interest," he said.

Mandaviya said ship recycling facilities in India had a natural advantage due to their location.

Noting that ship recycling has economic benefits and provides 10 per cent of the country's steel in an eco-friendly manner, he said every part of the ship is used and furniture is also sold.

The minister said he agreed with members concern that India should not become a "dumping ground".

He said the bill restricts and prohibits the use or installation of hazardous material, whether a ship is meant for recycling or not.

For new ships, such restriction or prohibition on the use of hazardous material will be from the date the legislation comes into force, while existing ships shall have a period of five years for compliance.

Restriction or prohibition on the use of hazardous material would not be applied to warships and non-commercial ships operated by the government.

He said ships shall be surveyed and certified on the inventory of hazardous material used in ships.

The minister said ship recycling facilities are required to be authorized and ships shall be recycled only in such authorized ship recycling facilities.

The Bill also provides that ships will be recycled in accordance with a ship-specific recycling plan.

Ships to be recycled in India shall be required to obtain a Ready for Recycling Certificate.

When the Hong Kong International Convention for Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, 2009 comes into force, its provisions will be implemented under the provisions of the Recycling of Ships Bill, 2019 and rules and regulations framed there under.

Earlier, moving the bill, the minister said around 1,000 merchant ships were recycled every year and 300 came to India.

Participating in a debate on the bill, BJP member Jagdambika Pal said there was a need for the legislation as ship recycling activity was governed by Ship Breaking Code (Revised), 2013.

Congress member Hibi Eden said the government had brought the bill in a hurry.

The code provides standards for environmental protection and workers' safety but does not provide penalties for contravention or dealing with the restrictions and prohibitions on the use of hazardous materials on ships.

The bill applies to any new or existing ship, which is registered in India, entering a port or terminal in India or the territorial waters of India. (ANI)