The government has tasked a technical committee to start work on establishing an official ship-breaking zone along Bangladesh's coast, following the prime minister's recent call for long overdue regulation of the hazardous industry.
The government will not allot any more land for ship-breaking yards until the new zone is set up, state minister for environment and forests Hasan Mahmud said on Tuesday.
The move comes in the wake of renewed concerns for worker safety, following a number of deaths at ship-breaking yards, and continued environmental worries over the industry.
Mahmud said the committee will formulate separate rules and regulations for the ship-breaking and reprocessing industries, located mainly in the coastal districts of Sitakunda and Chittagong.
The High Court issued an eight-point directive last March, which includes neutralising scrap ships before bringing them to the Bangladesh coast, environmental certificication by ship-breaking yards, informing the Supreme Court every month of how many scrap ships are arriving at the ports, and how much wastage they contain.
Following the direction, the ministry constituted a 17-member committee, with the environment and forests secretary as its head, to take actions against the unauthorised and polluting ship-breakers.