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Alang

From Academic Kids

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"Safety is our motto" reads this welcome sign at Alang, a statement heavily criticized

Alang is a coastal town in the State of Gujarat in India. It is a center of the ship breaking industry.

The shipyards at Alang recycle about 50% of the ships salvaged in the world. The yards are located on the Gulf of Khambat, 50 kilometers southeast of Bhavnagar. Before shipbreaking began there in June 1983 the beach at Alang was pristine and unspoiled. It is now seriously contaminated with toxic substances and asbestos.

Large supertankers, car ferries and container ships are beached during high tide, and as the tide recedes, hundreds of manual laborers dismantle each ship, salvaging what they can, and reducing the rest into scrap. Tens of thousands of low-paid jobs are supported by this activity, and millions of tons of steel are recovered.

The salvage yards at Alang have generated controversy about working conditions, workers' living conditions, and the impact on the environment. One major problems is that despite many serious work-related injuries, the nearest full service hospital is 50 kilometers away in Bhavnagar. Alang itself is served by a small Red Cross hospital which offers only limited services.

A shipyard at Alang is possibly the model for the shipyard described in the Iain Banks novel, The Business (1999).

Related article

The U.S. Navy has a Ship-Submarine recycling program.

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