Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 31, pp 30880–30893 | Cite as

Environmental hazards associated with open-beach breaking of end-of-life ships: a review

  • Suman BaruaEmail author
  • Ismail M. M. RahmanEmail author
  • Mohammad Mosharraf HossainEmail author
  • Zinnat A. Begum
  • Iftakharul Alam
  • Hikaru Sawai
  • Teruya Maki
  • Hiroshi HasegawaEmail author
Review Article


End-of-life (EOL) ships contribute significantly to the flow of recycled industrial Fe and non-Fe metal materials in resource-poor developing countries. The ship scrapping (breaking) and recycling industry (SBRI) recycles 90–95% of the total weight of EOL ships and is currently concentrated in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Turkey, and China, due to the high demand for recyclable and reusable materials there, an abundance of low-cost labor, and lenient environmental regulations. However, the SBRI has long been criticized for non-compliance with standards relating to occupational health, labor safety, and to the management of hazardous materials. Among the different EOL recycling options, Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan use open beaching, a technique that exposes all spheres of the environment to the release of hazardous materials from EOL ships. This article summarizes the current state of knowledge on the environmental exposure of hazardous materials from SBRI, to judge the risks associated with the dismantling of EOL ships on open beaches. Our work includes an overview of the industry and its recent growth, compares available ship-breaking methods, provides an inventory of hazardous releases from EOL ships, and reviews their movement into different spheres of the environment. The economic dynamics behind open beaching, and apportionment of responsibility for hazards related to it, are discussed, in order to generate policy and legal recommendations to mitigate the environmental harm stemming from this industry.


End-of-life ships Ship-breaking Open beach Pollutants Legislation 


Funding information

This research was partially supported by Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (15H05118 and 17K00622) from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Natural Science and TechnologyKanazawa UniversityKanazawaJapan
  2. 2.Department of Applied Chemistry and Chemical EngineeringUniversity of ChittagongChittagongBangladesh
  3. 3.Institute of Environmental RadioactivityFukushima University, 1 KanayagawaFukushima CityJapan
  4. 4.Institute of Forestry and Environmental SciencesUniversity of ChittagongChittagongBangladesh
  5. 5.Venture Business Laboratory, Organization of Frontier Science and InnovationKanazawa UniversityKanazawaJapan
  6. 6.Department of Civil EngineeringSouthern UniversityChittagongBangladesh
  7. 7.Department of Industrial EngineeringNational Institute of Technology, Ibaraki CollegeHitachinaka CityJapan
  8. 8.Institute of Science and EngineeringKanazawa UniversityKanazawaJapan

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