On of my most memorable trips and most horrific ones. I’ve been in life threatening situations like hanging of cliffs, gunpoint, extreme weather, etc. but this is something of a different level. Besides the fact that it is an ecological disaster, it is also a humanitarian disaster. This is about how low humanity can go. And i think humans can go even lower as we haven’t seen the worst we can do to each other and to the planet.
So what is the Chittagong Ship Breaking ? In short: ships, huge container ships, cargo vessels, anything are rampen up the shore/beach and left there. Captain just goes off the bridge, throws away the keys and walks off to the first bar/whorehouse. And this is not over reacted. Then the ships are ‘broken down’ by hand (!!) by hundreds of dirt poor people. The steel is being sold as scrap steel. Oil, waste, etc. all being dumped in the sea. Welcome to Chittagong Ship Breaking.
A stretch of more than 20km with rampen up ships, partly broken down ships, fresh ships waiting for a place, etc. On the shore it is not better. Shacks where the people live, pollution everywhere, oil, tons of lifeguard boats from the broken ships, scrap steel, scrap material, giant cables and winches to get the steel on shore.
First time i came here, was a long time ago. About 25 years. It was dangerous to go there. People asking what you want to do, why you want to go. Now they make day trip tours to this place. To make money. Out of other people’s poorness.
Bangladesh is dirt poor. It really is. That country needs help. It has a serious large population and the country is heavily polluted. Also the country is prone to natural disasters like extreme rainfall and flooding. That ship breaking brings in money. And its one of the big businesses in Bangladesh.
More to come.