Environmentalists have reacted to the recently amended Bangladeshi ship dismantle law which they claim is poised to harm the country’s marine environment.

The campaigners said the government’s decision to allow ships to carry their own toxic-free certificates would lead to the pollution of the country’s coastline and expose workers to deadly asbestos, which is banned in many countries.

The Bangladesh shipping department head Bazlur Rahman said the previous order has badly affected the shipbreaking industry.

In 2009 scrap yards in the south-eastern coastal town of Sitakundu accounted for 30% of the global dismantling of vessels, according to Clarkson Research.

According to the Customs Department, about 20 ships were stuck at the Chittagong port due to non-clearance certificates from the environmental agencies.