Darukhana ship-breaking yard. A place few Mumbaikars have seen. And why would they? The place is notoriously muddy during monsoon or otherwise dusty. Nails stick up from scrap wood. Blow torches light up industrial spaces like scattered fireflies among the distant sounds of large machines making large noises. It's a place of re-purposed parts and scraps. Artists are known to stop by to purchase raw materials for their more rugged projects. But few others visit apart from scrap buyers and the occasional photographers. No, this isn't a place for a casual stroll to get away from the Mumbai traffic. It's where you go when you've thought you've seen all of Mumbai. Then you realize that Mumbai still has a few tricks up her sleeves.
I can only imagine the quality of air these men inhale on a daily basis. I had a distant relative who died as a result from exposure to asbestos during his work in shipping yards during WW2. According to US military records, asbestos was built into Navy ships between 1930 and 1970, and even in the 1990's in the United States shipbuilding and repair was the Number 2 industry where death certificates mentioned asbestosis as the cause of death. These shipbuilders also ran the risk of mesothelioma cancer due to past exposure during their working years. Based on what I've seen at Kumbharwada in Dharavi, where pottery makers still use asbestos to line their kilns for baking pots, I can only imagine what kind of nightmarish substances must be lurking in ship scraps that the people working in the Darukhana docks must face. I specify people now instead of men because there are many women and children who live on site or nearby who are also exposed to whatever is floating on the air.
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