‘Green’ firm says S. Korean waste not toxic but recyclable

Nov. 16, 2018

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – An official of a company that engages in the recycling of plastic has asserted that their raw materials coming from South Korea are not toxic but are recyclable.

Neil Alburo, president of Verde Soko Phil. Industrial Corp., the company engaged in the recycling of plastics based inside the Phividec Industrial Authority (PIA)-managed economic zone in Sitio Buguac, Barangay Santa Cruz, Tagoloan, said the materials that they imported from South Korea are ready for processing.

The soft plastics, he said, are recycled into pellets and briquettes, which will be shipped back to South Korea and China to be made into plastic furniture and other items.

Soft plastics refer to plastic grocery bags and other light materials made of the same ingredient.

Alburo clarified that they have complied with all the requirements set by the PIA before they are allowed to set up a shot at Buguac.

In July, more than five metric tons of plastic materials arrived from South Korea at the Mindanao Container Terminal sub-port in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental.

Last month, 51 container vans with the same content came in from the same country.

Alburo assured that their operation will be pollution-free and will not be harmful to the environment or to the people living nearby.

Dax Jara, PIA safety specialist, said they had cleared Verde Soko to operate a recycling facility within the Phividec Industrial Estate complex.

Jara added PIA and Verde Soko had signed a memorandum of understanding in June allowing the processing of plastic materials inside the ecozone.

He said the most important requirement that entities must secure before they can put up a business in the Phividec industrial estate is the Environment Compliance Certificate (ECC) issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ (DENR) Environmental Management Bureau (EMB).

In an interview Tuesday afternoon, Jara said, “the very basic document that we require is the ECC which they were able to produce, as early as June this year.”

Based on the actual document, EMB granted Verde Soko the ECC on July 6, 2018, for the proposed plastic pellet processing, plastic briquette processing and 300-kilowatt thermal power supply project.

The ECC was signed EMB-10 regional director Sabdullah Abubacar and EMB-10 clearance and permitting division chief Alex Jimenez.

“We are in an ecozone, we are embedded with the rules and regulations of the DENR. We have to follow,” Alburo said.

“The company is here to help solve the problem of plastic pollution,” he said, on why Verde Soko went into plastic-recycling business.

According to a 2015 report on plastic pollution by Ocean Conservancy and McKinsey for Business and Environment, the Philippines ranked third as the world’s source of plastic pollution.

The company’s imported raw materials, however, are still under the custody of the Bureau of Customs-10 (BOC-10) pending compliance of two alleged violations Verde Soko has reportedly committed.

BOC-10 collector Floro Calixihan said that based on their findings, the materials imported by Verde Soko were misdeclared as “plastic synthetic flakes” but they found out the shipment was composed of all sorts of plastic.

Also, the company has yet to secure an import permit from the DENR. As of this writing, the environment department has yet to inform the media that it has already issued said permit to Verde Soko.

He said the Customs had issued a warrant of seizure and detention until the issue is resolved within 15 days through a legal proceeding.

Calixihan said they had summoned the Verde Soko management for a hearing in which the Customs will give the company the chance to respond to the alleged violations.

“Verde Soko said they would follow the Customs laws and regulations. However, we cannot wait for the submission of their documents. Based on records, we have to issue a warrant of seizure and detention against the shipment of Verde Soko,” the collector said in an interview Wednesday morning.

Verde Soko has yet to reply to the pronouncement of the Bureau of Customs, although Alburo has assured in a previous interview that they are complying with all the requirements demanded of them.(davaotoday.com)

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