Toxic Exxon Valdez is no more
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Former Exxon Valdez, the giant ship that gained notoriety after the 1989 Alaska oil spill, is finally no more, having been dismantled at Alang-Sosiya Ship Recycling Yard in Bhavnagar where it was brought six months ago amid a raging controversy.
Priya Blue Industries, which dismantled the ship at Alang, has told local authorities that more than 800 kilograms of asbestos and close to 29,000 kilograms of glass wool were found on the 34,399-tonne vessel that spilled an estimated 2.5 lakh barrels of oil after running aground off Alaska in April 1989, causing one of the world's worst man-made environmental disasters on record.
According to the World Health Organization, "all types of asbestos cause lung cancer, mesothelioma, cancer of the larynx and ovary, and asbestosis (fibrosis of the lungs)", while the carcinogenic hazards of synthetic fibres such as glass wool "could vary from high to low".
Indian laws and guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court allow end-of-life ships that do not carry hazardous waste in loose form to enter ship-recycling yards, while the anti-dumping Basel Convention, to which India is a signatory, treats end-of-life ships as waste and prohibits OECD countries from sending them to developing countries for recycling.
Last year, environmentalists had fought against the Exxon Valdez's entry into Indian waters in the apex court and lost.