The hypocrisy of better beaches: winners of the “Public Eye Investigation Award” shed light on shipbreaking in Alang and Swiss companies’ involvement Published on January 22nd, 2019.
Belgian journalist Gie Goris, Editor in Chief of MO* Magazine, and Nicola Mulinaris, Communication and Policy Officer of the NGO Shipbreaking Platform, received Public Eye’s first ever “Investigation Award” for their research on the shipbreaking business.
Gie Goris looked for signs of Swiss shipping companies in the Indian town of Alang, where ships go to die. There, he saw many middle-aged wrecks and met angry trade unionists and workers deprived of their rights and risking their health on a daily basis for a meagre wage. Swiss ship owners, including container giant MSC, use the Alang beach to dispose of their floating toxic waste while boosting their profits.
The “recycling” methods of the Geneva-based company MSC, which recently attracted critical headlines for the damage its containers caused in the North Sea, show the vast rift between sustainability promises and the reality of the Swiss shipping industry’s business practices.
Nicola Mulinaris supported Goris in shedding light on the political context behind the illegal trade of toxic waste and showing the important, but the ignominious, role played by landlocked Switzerland in dealing with end-of-life ships.
This story, which was published yesterday also by Public Eye, is just an extract of a bigger investigation. The full report “Behind the Hypocrisy of Better Beaches” takes a closer look at industry attempts to greenwash beaching and the lobbying for double standards by embedded policymakers in Europe.
Set up to celebrate Public Eye’s 50th anniversary in 2018, the “Investigation Award” honoured and funded journalistic research into human rights violations, environmental offences or other irresponsible practices of Swiss companies in developing or emerging countries. A jury comprised of renowned media professionals and Public Eye staff selected two projects from a shortlist of 55.
Yesterday, the two investigations were presented to the public in Zurich, during an event held at Kosmos. A panel debate on the relationship between media and NGOs followed the authors’ presentations.