Defra - Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Science Search

Science and Research Projects

Return to Science Search homepage   Return to Project List

"Potential Transitional Technology Solutions For Environmentally Sound Ship Recycling In Developing Countries" - WR1110

Environmentally Sound Management (ESM)

Citing Watkinson (2006) the concept of ESM in terms of activities involving waste management is derived from the Articles of the Basel Convention. This defines the `environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes or other wastes` in Article 2 of the Convention as:

`...taking all practicable steps to ensure that hazardous wastes or other wastes are managed in a manner which will protect human health and the environment against the adverse effects which may result from such wastes`.

When considering the operation of a ship recycling facility as a whole, a broader definition is required for the purposes of ESM. This must take into account the nature of the facility and the environment around it. These differ from the majority of facilities covered by the Basel Convention which are wholly land-based. Ship recycling facilities often operate at a land-sea interface with the consequent impacts of tides and shore conditions adding a complicating factor. A definition that may be applied for ESM for operational purposes may be:

“The combination of practical standards, procedures and management controls applied to shoreline, dock and other ship recycling activities, ensuring the protection of human health and the environment from the potential impacts of all the operations carried out that may give rise to release of potentially harmful substances, including wastes, to air, water or land.”

In 2007, Defra published a UK Ship Recycling Strategy to ensure the environmentally sound recycling of UK-flagged vessels and within this noted that the UK would ‘support development of a technical co-operation project, based on Basel Convention Guidelines, to assist in the upgrade of standards at facilities in developing countries and to expand the provision of Environmentally Sound Management compliant ship recycling’. This project is intended to assist the practical application of, and inform discussions on, potential interim measures for progressive implementation to ESM standards in developing countries.

Transitional Technology

In this context the concept of “transitional technology” is intended to indicate techniques that while not employing sophisticated or complex labour-saving technology are nonetheless capable of delivering an equivalent outcome in terms of environmental protection, monitoring or process control. Techniques are simple but effective, A supply of labour is not a constraint, while increasing dependence on machinery and equipment, and energy supply, requiring infrastructure and technician level maintenance or greater would be. Engineering solutions may be devised, for example that provide mechanical advantage without motive power, for lifting loads, safer access without sophisticated monitoring devices or pollution prevention (e.g. barriers) without complex engineered structures. Maintenance and management may feature as important parameters to substitute for technical process control equipment. The techniques should be capable of being readily understood and implemented with simple instructions and training.

Aim: To identify, assess and produce guidance on a selected number of appropriate transitional technology solutions for application to environmentally sound ship recycling, which are suitable for use in developing countries.

• Develop contextual approach for identifying good practice transitional technology techniques for environmentally sound management at ship recycling facilities in developing countries, based on existing requirements and guidance.
• Propose a range of transitional technology options that will contribute towards environmentally sound ship recycling practice to inform development of standards and guidance (e.g. International Maritime Organisation (IMO) consideration of draft guidance documents, development of programmes to support interim measures such as the Global Programme of the International Labour Organisation (ILO)/IMO/Basel Convention and any European Commission outreach programme).
• Evaluate health, safety and environmental performance of such transitional technology options, their ease of uptake in developing countries and suggest possible solutions to any barriers to implementation.
• Produce a series of guidance notes on each specific option that could be used to support development of interim measures.
Project Documents
• Final Report - SID5 : Potential transitional technology solutions for environmentally sound ship recycling in developing countries.   (890k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2009

To: 2009

Cost: £41,832
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Golder Associates (UK) Limited
Environmental Protection              
Overarching Issues/Stakeholder Forums              
Stakeholder Forums              
Waste Management              
Fields of Study
Waste Management