CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – China has joined other countries that dump their garbage to the Philippines following information relayed by the Bureau of Customs in Northern Mindanao (BOC-10) that tons of electronic waste (e-waste) and other forms of trash has entered the local port from the Chinese territory.
The Asian superpower is the latest nation to ship their garbage to the country, after waste materials from Canada, South Korean, and Australia were discovered lately.
Environmental groups have condemned such act as they called on the government not to allow the Philippines to become the dumping ground of garbage from foreign countries.
The electronic trash from China’s special administrative region of Hong Kong arrived at the Mindanao Container Terminal (MCT) sub-port in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental on Feb. 15, 2019, said MCT sub-port collector John Simon.
The cargo was shipped by Hin Yuen Tech. Env. Limited and was consigned to Crowd Win Industrial Limited based in Pasay City.
Identified as the shipment’s broker was a certain Yolanda Narandan, with business address at Door 1, Nacalaban building in Julio Pacana St., Barangay 23, this city.
This reporter checked the given address and found out that an eatery has occupied said address instead of a customs broker’s office.
The eatery attendant, however, said that “Yolanda” is the name on the establishment’s electric bill, although he admitted that he doesn’t know who that person is.
Simon said the shipment contained 25,610 kilograms of discarded components of electronic devices such as computers and cellular phones smashed to tiny pieces.
“This is just a ‘test cargo.’ They are just checking if it can pass through the Customs. Fortunately, we were able to intercept it,” Simon said.
He said they got information that 70 more container vans containing the same cargo are expected to arrive at the MCT sub-port had the first shipment been green-lighted by BOC-10.
“When those involved found out the Customs’ strictly enforcement, all of a sudden they disappear. They aborted the shipment,” Simon said.
“But even if we confiscated only one shipment, it’s still hazardous. Isang container lang pero deadly (It’s only one container by still deadly),” he added.
He said the cargo was declared as “assorted electronic accessories,” adding “that is such a general term. It’s not specific. If a term is too general, we at Customs will suspect that the importer is hiding something.”
The BOC-10 issued an alert order and a warrant of seizure and detention on Feb. 19 and March 7, 2019, for said shipment for misdeclaration of the imported materials.
The environmental group EcoWaste Coalition has expressed its indignation over the latest entry of garbage from other countries.
“We denounce this latest attempt to bring into the country over 25 tons of mixed plastic waste from Hong Kong amid our nation’s ongoing efforts to send back similar illegal waste shipments from Canada and South Korea,” said EcoWaste Coalition national coordinator Aileen Lucero in a statement Friday.
“This is supposed to be a ‘trial shipment’ for some 70 containers. Thanks to the alertness and resolve of local customs intelligence and officials, our nation succeeded in stopping a potential avalanche of plastic waste and e-waste,” Lucero said.
She said they are shocked that the shipment originated from Hong Kong and found it ironic “since China has taken the unprecedented move to protect its own environment by banning waste imports, including electronic and plastic scraps and remnants. We, therefore, request the Chinese government to seriously look into this matter.”
“To protect the national interest against illegal waste trafficking, we renew our earnest call for a comprehensive and immediate ban on waste imports and for the country’s rapid ratification of the Basel Ban Amendment,” Lucero said.
The amendment of the Basel Convention aims to ban all shipments of hazardous waste from developed to developing countries, even for recycling purposes, and to promote clean production, stop toxic technologies and prevent governments and companies from circumventing the recycling loophole in the said treaty.(davaotoday.com)