From this report in today's media, it appears that France will be destroyed after all....we shall have to wait and see if this is the case though as there isn't any confirmation as such...
New Delhi: Almost one in every six workers dismantling old boats at Alang shipyard in Gujarat suffers from asbestos poisoning, experts said in a report sure to fuel criticism of an industry long dogged by charges of unsafe working conditions.
The experts, appointed by Supreme Court to look into conditions at Alang, also found a fatal accident rate six times that of the country's notoriously unsafe mining industry.
International and local environmental and labor groups have for years urged Indian authorities to sharply curtail – or simply stop – the work being done at the yard, where old ships are run aground in the shallows just offshore and then dismantled largely by hand.
The dangers faced by the 5,000 workers at the yard on the shores of the Gulf of Cambay in western state of Gujarat were spotlighted in February when protests by environmental groups forced the French and Indian governments to call off plans for the decommissioned French aircraft carrier Clemenceau to be broken up at Alang.
The environmentalists said the ship was filled with up to 1,000 tons of asbestos, along with other toxic waste.
The expert committee, appointed by the Supreme Court during the controversy over the Clemenceau, found 16 per cent of the workers at Alang suffer from an early stage of asbestosis – an irreversible lung condition that could lead to lung cancer, according to the Indian Express, which obtained a copy of the unpublished report.
''In ships brought for breaking, free asbestos is usually present as thermal insulation of boilers and floor tiles. When this asbestos is removed, its particles become airborne and attack the lungs,'' the report said, according to the paper.
It normally took more than 10 years for full-blown asbestosis to develop, but its onset is hastened with higher levels of exposure, the report said.
The Express said the report was given to the Supreme Court last week, but neither court officials nor members of the expert committee were immediately available for comment Wednesday. However, a member of Ban Asbestos Network of India, Gopal Krishna, said he had seen the report and confirmed the account given in Express.
The network earlier this year filed a petition with the Supreme Court to stop another ship, a former cruise liner known as the Blue Lady, from being broken at Alang. But the court said the dismantling of the Blue Lady, formerly the SS France, could go ahead.