‘Green’ group lauds Customs, Misor LGU effort to reship Korean trash

Nov. 01, 2019

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – Environmental watchdog EcoWaste Coalition on Thursday lauded the efforts of the Bureau of Customs-10 (BOC-10) and the provincial government of Misamis Oriental to ship back the remaining 5,177 metric tons of mostly plastic trash to South Korea before the year ends.

“Despite the understandable delay, we welcome the assurance made by the BOC-Region 10 that the remaining trash from South Korea in [Misamis Oriental] would be returned to their source before the year ends,” said EcoWaste Coalition national coordinator Aileen Lucero.

She said the people of Mindanao and the rest of the nation anticipate the complete reshipment of the “misdeclared” waste imports to the port of Pyeongtaek, South Korean in November or December.

The provincial government has provided “tonner bags” that would be used in repacking the trash, as well as the heavy equipment that can be deployed to fast-track the whole process.

“Without these specialty bags, the transfer of the wastes to the container vans would not be possible,” Lucero said.

“We also laud the provincial government for allocating the necessary budget to pay for the personnel and the equipment for the cleanup of the storage site in Tagoloan, including portion of it that caught fire last August,” she added.

Lucero said, the concerted action by the local government and Customs authorities “reflects their commitment to protect the people, their health and their environment from the negative impacts of foreign waste dumping.”

BOC-10 district collector John Simon said the provincial government of Misamis Oriental has allocated more than P1 million for the repacking of the 5,177 metric tons of mixed garbage now being stored at a facility inside the premises of the Phividec Industrial Authority in Sitio Buguac, Barangay Santa Cruz, Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental.

The decision to reship the waste from Pyeongtaek, South Korea came after the consignee, Verde Soko Philippine Industrial Corp. failed to comply with requirements of the BOC and the environment department.

Verde Soko officials said the imported plastics were intended as materials for the company’s recycling plant that would make pellets and briquettes to be used in the manufacture of exportable furniture and other items.

Early this year, about 1,400 metric tons of mixed wastes consigned by Verde Soko were returned to South Korea.

Misamis Oriental Provincial Board member Gerardo Sabal III said the provincial government has allocated P1.4 million for the purchase of 4,000 tonner bags and for the heavy equipment.

BOC-10 district collector John Simon said they have the whole month of November to finish the re-bagging of the garbage.

“It’s a long process. Putting the trash in bags won’t be an easy job. You need manpower and equipment to do that,” he said.

Simon added that the South Korean government has committed to shoulder the expenses of the reshipment.

Lucero said they are hoping that the re-export of the garbage will commence or get completed by Dec. 5, 2019, when the Basel Ban Amendment will enter into force.

The Basel Ban Amendment prohibits the export of hazardous wastes for all reasons, including recycling, from rich countries belonging to the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), European Union (EU) and Liechtenstein to developing countries like the Philippines, which has yet to ratify the said amendment to the Basel Convention.

“Ratifying the Basel Ban Amendment and further prohibiting the export of all wastes to the Philippines will be our best legal protection against waste trafficking that has outraged the whole nation with the seizure of thousands of tons of illegal waste consignments from Canada, Hong Kong and South Korea,” she added.(davaotoday.com)

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