Envi group urges Marcos to enforce law vs waste importation

Jun. 02, 2022

Members of the environmental watchdog EcoWaste Coalition hold a picket at the Mindanao Container Terminal (MCT) sub-port in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental during the send-off of the 2.561 tons of electronic waste back to Hong Kong, China at the MCT facility in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental, Monday, June 3, 2019. At the back is the container van containing the imported e-waste. (Jigger J. Jerusalem/davaotoday.com)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines — An environment group has urged President-elect Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. to institute essential measures to protect the nation’s interest from global waste and prevent other countries from dumping their garbage in the Philippines.

“We appeal to [Marcos] to target the ratification of the Basel Convention Ban Amendment (BCBA) among his top priorities in the first 100 days of his administration to uphold environmental health and justice, along with a national ban of waste importation,” said Aileen Lucero, national coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition, in a statement.

The Ban Amendment, enforced in December 2019, was adopted by the parties to the Basel Convention in 1995. It prohibits the export of hazardous wastes for recycling or disposal from member-states of the European Union, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and Liechtenstein to all other countries.

Lucero said Marcos is familiar with the issue on hazardous waste trade having filed a resolution at the 16th Congress where he pushed for the investigation on the dumping of Canadian trash into the country and for the institution of measures to protect public health and environment against toxic and hazardous materials.

In the said resolution, Marcos cited the falsely declared “heterogeneous plastic scrap materials” from Canada that was intercepted in 2013 by the Bureau of Customs. Upon inspection by the authorities, it was found out that said materials contain “mixed waste, consisting of non-recyclable plastics, used adult diapers, broken bottles and glasses, waste paper, and household/kitchen waste”.

Then-senator Marcos said “it is crucial to scrutinize the policy of the government in allowing the foreign-sourced trash into local landfills in order to assess and enhance viable mechanisms to protect our people from the health perils brought about by the gargantuan rubbish literally thrown into our own backyard, at the expense of our people.”

Lucero said should the president-elect ratifies the BCBA, it will be a fitting honor for the late Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago who was his running mate in the 2016 national elections.

Santiago had authored resolutions that aimed to inquire on ways to prevent illegal waste dumping from abroad and the immediate ratification of the BCBA.

Meanwhile, the EcoWaste Coalition had also urged President Rodrigo Duterte to ratify the BCBA, following his State of the Nation Address in 2021. The coalition also asked Duterte to impose a comprehensive ban on foreign waste imports, and to support a stronger ASEAN response to stop global waste dumping as suggested in the report titled “Waste Trade in Southeast Asia: Legal Justifications for Regional Action.”

EcoWaste noted a study commissioned by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Environmental Management Bureau which showed “the overall beneficial impact of the Ban Amendment in the Philippines, where the long-term financial, environmental, and social benefits outweigh the short term-costs.”

The Philippine government has yet to complete the ratification procedures of the BCBA, which will require concurrence by the Senate. (davaotoday.com)

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