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No toxic waste on US ship at Alang, says probe

October 24, 2009 21:22 IST

The Central probe team, which inspected the controversial United States ship Platinum-II anchored at the Alang shipyard in Gujarat, has given a clean chit to it, saying there was no toxic material on board.

The report has been submitted to the Environment Ministry, which will take a final decision on the fate of the US liner ship next week, after taking into consideration all aspects, sources in the ministry said. Meanwhile, environment groups have threatened to approach the Supreme Court, against the team's observation.

In its report, the three-member team constituted by the Centre said, "No hazardous waste has been found in the ship in loose form or as cargo. During inspection, no radioactive material was found expecting radio signals and a few signboards."

According to the sources, the members have further suggested that as per established procedures, the radioactive material will be disposed of at the authorised waste disposal centre (Bhaba Atomic Research Centre).

Regarding allegations that the 682-foot ship is loaded with material contaminated by polychlorinated biphenyl and asbestos-containing material, the report claimed that the content was much less than what was contained in the Blue Lady ship, the dismantling of which was allowed by the Supreme Court at Alang shipyard a few years ago.

The three-member team, comprising an official each from the Central Pollution Control Board, the Steel Ministry and the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, was constituted following allegations that the ship was illegally anchored at the Alang shipyard.

The Indian Platform on Ship-breaking, a coalition of environment and human rights activists, however, alleged that the ship had around 210 tonnes of material contaminated by polychlorinated biphenyl and approximately 200 tonnes of asbestos-containing material.

Opposing the team's decision of giving a clean chit, Krishna Gopal, convener of the IPoS, said the report was 'biased' and if approved by the Centre, it would set a 'wrong precedent' for entry of such contaminated ships, which are waiting to use the Indian coasts for dismantling.

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