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Shipbuilding industry is one of the oldest and the heaviest production industries all over the world. There are several production processes which result in hazardous waste and pollutants to the environmental safety and health. Shipyards are often categorized into two basic subdivisions: new shipbuilding division and ship repairing division. The area of the shipyard describes their proficiency; some shipyards build only large ships and also have repair and dry dock facilities while other shipyards have facilities for building small- and medium-sized vessels such as patrol boats, fire and rescue boats, water taxis, ferries, tug boats, fishing boats, and shallow-drafted barges.

The production and repair process used in shipbuilding and repair industry requires numerous pre-treatments such as surface preparation, painting and coating, metal plating and surface finishing, solvent cleaning and degreasing, machining and metal working, welding, vessel cleaning, and fiberglass operations. The consumption of various products results with production of different forms of pollutants (solid, liquid, and gaseous). The amount of outcome such as wastes and pollutants is a major risk from an environmental and ecological point of view. These wastes can be grouped as particulates, VOCs (styrene, acetone, methylene chloride, etc.), metal mists and fumes for pollutants, paint chips, cleaning and paint stripping solvents, oil residues from bilge and cargo tanks, emulsified lubricating and cutting oils and coolants for wastewater and paint chips (containing metals, tributyltin), spent abrasives, surface contaminations and cargo tank residues, spent plating solutions and cyanide solutions, waste cutting oil and lube oils for the residual wastes.

The definition and characterization of these waste waters may help us to manage these wastes and pollutants in the shipyard industry. The best solution to prevent these waste products will be to prevent them at the beginning of the process before existence. Alternatives to reduce the pollution may be to decrease the material inputs, to improve the engineering processes, to reuse the materials, to improve the management practices, and to use alternatives to toxic chemicals. Most of the processes such as welding, painting, blasting, fiberglass production that have a direct effect on workers health, i.e., exposure to VOCs, fumes resulting from burning through base metal, and from burning the interior and exterior coatings that are often left in place, can cause acute and chronic health problems. In Turkish shipyards, the importance of environmental and human health awareness is not well known. When blasting, welding, and painting processes are investigated, the result shows the significance of the situation. Occupational safety risks of workers are well known. But the main threat can be named as the potential environmental and human health hazardous wastes from production processes such as blasting, welding, and painting (Celebi, 2008).

This study focuses on the production processes, their pollutant emissions, effects of these pollutants to the shipyard workers, and alternative ways to reduce these wastes and pollutants resulting from shipbuilding and ship repair activities. There are several wastes and pollutants being released during shipbuilding and ship repairing processes. Minimizing or avoiding these wastes and pollutants is the most important point to protect environment and ecology. Especially the climate change, mostly being discussed and studied for recent years, will be affected by improving these shipyard production processes.

In recent years, there are several studies on production processes, contaminants, their effects on human health and environment, and management of wastes in shipyards. Kura and Lacoste (1996) studied wastes from shipyard production processes. Kura and Tadimalla (1998) worked on prevention technologies of contamination for shipyards. Kura (2002) studied computer-aided decision systems for shipyard environment management. Iborra et al. (2001) designed an environmental-sensitive blasting robot prototype for the ship production process with grid as blasting material. Austin et al. (2002) studied the comparison of the advantages and disadvantages for abrasive blasting technologies. Hewett (1995) studied a mathematical model to calculate the effects of submerged metal arc welding and gas metal arc welding on workers health. Lin and Leung (1996) studied the VOC control in industrial facilities and their effects on health. Kura and Kura (2006) studied the volatile organic compounds (VOC) and hazardous air pollutants (HAP) of painting processes. Malherbe and Mandin (2005) focused on volatile organic compounds released from processes with paint and solvents in uncovered shipyard areas. Champ (1999) studied the globally forbidden tributyltin (TBT) containing anti fouling paints, commentary of the decisions, and their effects on marine transport, ship production, and paint producers.

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