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The Environment Council met in Luxembourg on 24 June 2005, chaired by Lucien Lux, Minister for Environment, and unanimously adopted the conclusions on the dismantling of ships. According to Council President Lucien Lux, "this is a very important issue that has already been discussed on several occasions in the Environment Council. It is an issue that has economic, ecological and human components." The Luxembourg Presidency ultimately succeeded in arriving at a compromise on the draft conclusions based on a Danish initiative. Again according to Lucien Lux, "these conclusions seek to avoid social and environmental dumping caused by the systematic transfer of old and worn ships to countries that do not have the appropriate infrastructure."
The risks of dismantling done without any oversight are well known: This creates hazardous waste, persistent organic pollutants such as PCBs, heavy metals such as mercury and lead, and last but certainly not least, negative environmental and health impacts for local communities.
There are no international provisions on this. The EU therefore wishes to arrive at a legally binding international rule on this issue. In this context, Lucien Lux was satisfied with the increased cooperation of the international bodies (IMO/ILO/Basel Convention). With these conclusions, the EU hopes to send a strong signal to the forthcoming meeting of the International Maritime Organisation in order to ensure the ecologically sustainable management of ships without endangering human health.
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