I don’t want the outside world to think of Bangladesh as a dumping site. It is against my dignity. It is against the dignity of my nation and the dignity of the people.Syeda Rizwana Hasan in an interview with TIME magazine
Every morning on the beaches of Chittagong, some 15,000 men go to work knowing that they could die that day. For 16-hour shifts, workers in Bangladesh’s largest shipbreaking zone are sent with little protection or guidance into other nations’ aging vessels to pull their hulls apart by hand. Syeda Rizwana Hasan, is one of the few advocates for these men — and the beaches where the contaminated ships end up. She has struggled to bring better environmental and labor regulation to Bangladesh’s 36 shipbreaking yards, where, she says, “nobody is present” to ensure labor laws are followed or international guidelines against toxic waste-dumping are met.
Syeda Rizwana Hasan is a Bangladeshi attorney and environmentalist. She has particularly focused on regulations for the shipbreaking industry in Bangladesh, and was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2009. She was also awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 2012 for her “uncompromising courage and impassioned leadership in a campaign of judicial activism in Bangladesh that affirms the people’s right to a good environment as nothing less than their right to dignity and life. She has also been dubbed as a ”Hero of Environment” by the American news magazine TIME.