Pinoy green groups praise move to return South Korea’s illegal waste

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South Korea illegal waste
Green groups hailed the impending repatriation of South Korean wastes on January and February of this year. Photo from Ecowaste Coalition.

Environmental groups in the Philippines welcomed the impending re-export of over 5,000 tons of illegal waste from South Korea that were shipped to the Philippines nearly two years ago. The waste shipment is scheduled to be returned on January 19 and February 9 of this year.

Ecowaste Coaltion reported the scheduled return of shipment of the illegal waste from South Korea that were stranded since July 2018 at the PHIVIDEC Industrial Estate in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental.

The illegal waste will be shipped in container vans by Verde Soko Philippines Industrial Corporation on January 19 and the rest on February 9 with vessels from Maersk International Shipping Lines as the official carrier.

The planned of re-exporting of South Korean waste was praised by Interfacing Development Interventions for Sustainability (IDIS) – Davao and EcoWaste Coalition. “The re-exportation of the misdeclared plastic wastes to where they come from should send a clear signal to all parties that our beloved country is not a global dump and that waste traffickers will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law,” Mindanao International Container Terminal (MICT) Port Collector, John Simon said.

In addition, IDIS Executive Director, Chinkie Peliño-Golle said in a statement that, the re-shipment of the South Korean waste to its origin is good news as this is a historic win for the environment and the nation especially for the Mindanao people as it shows its unwillingness to be an entry point of hazardous waste from overseas.

EcoWaste Coalition National Coordinator Aileen Lucero stated that the complete removal of the remaining South Korean waste in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental, will help in correcting the grave environmental injustice against Mindanao and the entire Filipino nation.

“We commend Port Collector Simon and his team, as well as other customs, environmental and local government officials in the region, for taking a brave and solid position against foreign waste dumping and for finding ways to overcome logistical challenges, especially with the complicated repacking of the bulk waste,” she added.

According to a statement by EcoWaste Coalition, the delayed re-exportation of the remaining illegal wastes from South Korea was due to financial and logistical issues related to their re-bagging and transfer from the PHIVIDEC site to the MICT.

It will be recalled that authorities have determined that the illegal waste shipments from South Korea were falsely declared as “plastic synthetic flakes,” and posed risks to public health, with a total combined weight of 6,500 tons arriving at MICT in July and October 2018.

Meanwhile, the EcoWaste Coalition insisted that the government speed up the ratification of the Basel Ban Amendment which “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”.

“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,” they added.

The Philippines has significantly paved the way for environmental campaigns towards a safer Philippines with EcoWaste Coalition commending the phaseout of leaded paints, the involvement of Miss Earth Candidates, and reminders to festival parade participants to practice plastic-free celebrations.

SEND cheers to environmental advocates for watching over the health of the Philippines’ environment!

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