CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – With the reshipment of the remaining 5,177 metric tons of mostly plastic trash to South Korea on Sunday (Jan. 19), pro-environment groups have reiterated their call to foreign countries to recycle their own wastes and not dump these to the Philippines.
The garbage, placed in 60 container vans, was loaded onto an international ship that will transport the hazardous cargo back to Pyeongtaek City in South Korea from the Mindanao Container Terminal sub-port in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental.
Environmental organizations such as the EcoWaste Coalition, Interfacing Development Interventions for Sustainability (IDIS), and the Sustainable Davao Movement (SDM) joined Bureau of Customs-10 (BOC-10) personnel led by district collector John Simon and other public officials in the program prior to the reshipment.
In a statement, Simon said “the re-exportation of the falsely declared waste materials back to South Korea affirms our nation’s readiness and resolve to bring this dumping controversy to its just conclusion.”
“To stop this incident from happening again, I add my voice to the growing clamor to upgrade and strengthen our legal defense against waste dumping, including ratifying the Basel Ban Amendment,” Simon added.
The Basel Convention Ban Amendment, or the Basel Ban Amendment, seeks to the movement of hazardous recyclables from developed countries to less developed countries.
Chinkie Peliño-Golle, executive director of Davao City-based IDIS, said, “This dumping controversy and similar dumping incidents have reinforced the urgency of ratifying the Basel Ban Amendment and revising current regulations that permit waste imports into the country under the guise of ‘recycling.’”
“We need to plug the regulatory loopholes that waste traders are taking advantage of, which is turning our country, particularly Mindanao, into a convenient dumping site for plastic, electronic and other hazardous wastes,” Peliño-Golle added.
For her part, Aileen Lucero, EcoWaste Coalition national coordinator, said “such wastes should be recycled, treated or disposed of in the country where such wastes were generated.”
“While we pursue ecological solutions to our domestic garbage woes, we must tell South Korea and other countries to deal with their own wastes at home and stop exporting them to the Philippines and other Asian countries,” Lucero said.
This was echoed by Dr. Joe DiGangi, from the Senior Science and Technical Advisory of the International Pollutants Elimination Network, which includes IDIS and EcoWaste Coalition among its members.
“Korean waste should be managed in Korea and not dumped in the Philippines or anywhere else. This experience should nudge both countries to promptly ratify the Basel Ban Amendment,” DiGangi said.
The groups further stressed the need for a national ban on waste importation from all countries that will cover all wastes, including household and plastic wastes, as the Basel Ban Amendment is focused mainly on hazardous waste shipments from developed countries.
According to them, the ratification of said amendment and the prohibition on waste importation will be the best legal protection of the Philippines against illegal waste traffic.
“For the protection of public health, for environmental justice, and for the preservation of the national dignity against the dehumanizing and polluting impacts of global waste trade, we call upon our leaders to ratify the Basel Ban Amendment and to impose a waste import ban without delay,” the groups said.(davaotoday.com)