First World Garbage

Fighting off a fever, I’ve been researching what is rarely discussed yet a huge issue in the world. Where do all those first world ships; cruise liners, war ships, etc., where do they go when they’re too old?

Perhaps you’ve never thought about it. Maybe you’ve even sailed on one of those mickey mouse cruises, and while playing shuffle board the thought of one day having to dispose of this ship never crossed your mind. But it has to be done. And worst of all, lots of these ships leave a very dirty and dangerous legacy.

I’m still doing prelimenary research for my podcast on this subject, but one important place to start with is Alang, India. This is a place where breaking down ships is a big industry. And unfortanately as a side effect, workers have to endure some very dangerous factors, like asbestos or whatever chemicals they’re exposed to from these ships. And of course, not only are the workers in danger, but the environment and the community as well. But there you have it, that is their major industry, send your rust buckets from the first world, and they will break them down, with minimal questions.

But then there’s the Clemenceau, a former french warship filled with a uncertain quantity of asbestos. And there are treaties that say you can’t transport toxins from France to a developing nation. And the supreme court of India now wants some answers and so does greenpeace. Lots of interests collide on this one. No clear answers. My biggest question is – are we now building boats that won’t destroy the planet and it’s people when it comes time to break them down?

More in an upcoming podcast…