Last cargo of toxic waste re-exported this month

February 14, 2020

THE remaining 100 container vans of contaminated plastic waste illegally shipped to Northern Mindanao from South Korea will finally be returned to their source this month.

Environment-advocacy group EcoWaste Coalition said that the third batch will be shipped back tomorrow, while the fourth and last batch will be returned on February 23.

The group’s national coordinator, Aileen Lucero, said the information was relayed to them through text message by Bureau of Customs-Region X (BOC-10) Port Collector John Simon.

Based on Simon’s info, the container ships “Vivaldi” and “Nordmarsh”  will take back, respectively, the 50 container vans to South Korea on February16 and the last 50 containers on February 23.

“This will bring the total number of re-exported containers to 201,” Simon informed Lucero.

Fifty containers were shipped back on Jan. 19, 2020 and another 51 containers on Jan. 13, 2019.

“The re-exportation of the remaining wastes from South Korea this month signifies our nation’s steadfastness to protect public health and the environment from the deceptive trade in hazardous waste disguised as plastic waste for recycling,” said Simon to the group.

“As guardians of our ports, we are committed to curb illegal trade and halt all forms of customs fraud, including the practice of falsely declaring hazardous waste and other wastes as recyclables,” he added.

The group, which has been monitoring compliance with the bilateral agreement by the governments of the Philippines and South Korea for the re-export of the illegal waste consignments, welcomed Simon’s announcement.

“The re-exportation of the remaining wastes and the cleanup of the storage site in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental, which factually became an open dumpsite for South Korean rubbish, will help in bringing this dumping controversy to a close,” said Lucero.

“To deter illegal traffic of waste in the future, all those responsible for this mess should be fully held accountable in accordance with the rule of law,” said Lucero, who also emphasized the need for the national government to impose a total ban on waste importation and to ratify the Basel Ban Amendment, an international law banning transfer of hazardous waste from developed to developing countries.  

Lucero stressed that these environmental justice measures will protect the country and its people from the negative consequences of global waste trade.

Imported by Verde Soko Philippines Industrial Corporation, the South Korean waste shipments wrongly declared as “plastic synthetic flakes” and weighing about 6,500 tons arrived in Northern Mindanao in July and October 2018.