The shipyards at Alang (Gujarat, India) recycle approximately half of all ships salvaged around the world. The yards are located on the Gulf of Khambat, 50 kilometres southeast of Bhavnagar.
Environmentalists note 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 income used to support their families.
Large supertankers, car ferries, container ships, and a dwindling number of ocean liners are beached during high tide, and as the tide recedes, hundreds of manual laborers dismantle each ship, salvaging what they can and reducing the rest into scrap. Tens of thousands of jobs are supported by this activity and millions of tons of steel are recovered.
The salvage yards at Alang have generated controversy about working conditions, workers’ living conditions, and the impact on the environment. One major problem is that despite many serious work-related injuries, the nearest full service hospital is 50 kilometres away in Bhavnagar. Japan and the Gujarat government have joined hands to upgrade the existing Alang shipyard to meet international standards.