Decision Insights for Shipbreaking using Environmental Impact Assessment: Review and Perspectives

Decision Insights for Shipbreaking using Environmental Impact Assessment: Review and Perspectives

Joshin John (Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow, India) and Rajiv Kumar Srivastava (Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow, India)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/IJSDS.2018010104

Abstract

This article describes how the shipbreaking industry has been under the microscope, more often in recent years, with scrutiny from governments, international agencies and environmental activists, on issues pertaining to sustainability in general and environmental impact in particular. Several cases of vessels-to-be-dismantled, by and large in yards located in South Asia, have been discussed in literature, with concerns on the modus operandi of dismantling end-of-life ships, and the mode of disposal of hazardous residual wastes. In this article, the authors review extant methodologies, and examine the decision alternatives available to shipbreakers, recyclers and waste material handlers to minimize damage to the environment. Impact assessment results using Open-LCA has been presented to demonstrate the relative impact loadings on various environmental parameters, from the path functions adopted. The results of the environmental impact assessment provide decision insights on various alternatives that may be appropriated in order to mitigate environmental damage. The article concludes with discussion, perspectives and future research directions to improve decision making for sustainable shipbreaking.
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1. Introduction

Shipbreaking is the process of dismantling a vessel, generally after its service period, for disposal, recycling or recovery of its structural components (Demaria, 2010; Patel et al., 2012). Over the last few decades, shipbreaking has grown into a multibillion dollar industry primarily located in India, Bangladesh, China, Pakistan and Turkey (Neşer et al., 2008; Sawyer, 2001). The industry is a major feeder of raw materials to the steel and construction industries (Sujauddin et al., 2015; Singh & Kaushik, 2002) in these countries and has flourished, thanks to the abundant labor resources available for shipbreaking at relatively cheaper rates (Rousmaniere & Raj, 2007). The regulatory framework (Bhattacharjee, 2009; Puthucherril, 2010; Alam & Faruque, 2014) and geographical advantages (Sibilia, 2015; Chang et al., 2010) have also contributed towards the growth of the shipbreaking industry in these locations. However, there has been increasing concern on the sustainability (Kusumaningdyah et al., 2013; Khan et al., 2012) of shipbreaking industry, particularly in view of the practices (Dodds, 2007; Hossain & Islam, 2006) that were prevalent in yards located in the subcontinent, comprising of the nation states of India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. This article examines the sustainability issues associated with shipbreaking activity, and draws insights to mitigate environmental impact using Life Cycle Assessment tool.

The desiderata of sustainable development envisioned by Brundtland Commission (1985) has been widely acknowledged and conceptualized as the sustainability pillars of (a) Economic Benefit, (b) Environmental Protection, and (c) Social Justice. The post-Brundtland world (Sneddon et al., 2006) has evolved on the tenets of sustainability and branched into field-specific discourses such as in operations (Kliendorfer et al., 2005; Gimenez et al., 2012; Tang & Zhou, 2012), manufacturing (Jayal et al., 2010; Garetti & Taisch, 2012) and supply chain management (Seuring & Müller, 2008; Carter & Rogers, 2008; Carter & Easton, 2011; Pagell & Wu, 2009; Gold et al., 2010). Over the years, there have been several research studies on environmental and social impact due to shipbreaking activities, capturing both qualitative and quantitative aspects. Considerable research in the past has been fixated on the environmental issues (Reddy et al., 2003, 2004a, 2004b, 2005a, 2005b; Hossain & Islam, 2006; Hossain et al., 2010; Asolekar, 2006, 2012) due to ship scrap wastes, while some researchers (Anderson, 2001; Deshpande et al., 2012; Neşer et al., 2008) have focused on worker safety aspects and human impact due to shipbreaking. Case studies of vessels-to-be-dismantled such as the French Aircraft Carrier ‘Le Clemenceau’ (Thomas, 2007) and Cruise liner ‘Blue Lady’ (Pelsy, 2008) have been deliberated in literature. Some researchers (Mikelis, 2008; Knapp et al., 2008) have undertaken statistical and econometric analyses of shipbreaking industry whereas others (Carvalho et al., 2011) have demonstrated methodologies for environmental impact modeling. However, we observe a lacuna in literature on insights to determine cause-effect relations on environmental impact parameters during shipbreaking, recycling and disposal. These insights would be useful to mitigate specific and measurable environmental impacts based on standard parameters.

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