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“At Alang, in India, on a six-mile stretch of oily, smoky beach, 40,000 men tear apart half of the world’s discarded ships, each one a sump of toxic waste. Environmentalists in the West are outraged. The shipbreakers, of course, want to be left alone –and maybe they should be.”
This is how William Langewiesche starts his story The Shipbreakers, a report from Alang [India, see image above] where massive ships are torn apart by hand and turned into scrap metal.

The shipyards at Alang recycle approximately half of all ships salvaged around the world, as we can read here. The yards are located on the Gulf of Khambat, 50 kilometres southeast of Bhavnagar. Environmentalists complain that before shipbreaking began there in June 1983 the beach at Alang was pristine and unspoiled. However, locals say that the work provides a reasonably paid job by local standards, with a steady…

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